FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

Family mansion ready for Thaksin but Paetongtarn unsure of parole eligibility

Family mansion ready for Thaksin but Paetongtarn unsure of parole eligibility

Convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will stay at his family mansion in Bangkok if he is placed on parole later this month, his daughter Paetongtarn confirmed on Friday.

However, Paetongtarn said she did not know if Thaksin would be among the convicts eligible for parole in a list to be prepared by the Corrections Department and submitted to the Justice Ministry.

“I hope his name will be on the list. I haven’t seen the list yet, and Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong hasn’t told me anything about it,” she said.

Paetongtarn, who leads the ruling party Pheu Thai, said that Thaksin had applied for the pardon on his own and that the family did not take any action in the matter.

“However, the family has made Ban Chan Songla ready for his stay since he returned to Thailand,” she added, referring to the Shinawatra family’s mansion on Charan Sanitwong Road in Bangkok’s Bang Phlat district.

The 37-year-old politician said that as February 18 approaches, her excitement is increasing, awaiting her father’s homecoming.

She was referring to the date Thaksin would be expected to be eligible for parole after 180 days since his return to Thailand on August 22 to serve prison terms for corruption cases stemming from his tenure as prime minister.

Family mansion ready for Thaksin but Paetongtarn unsure of parole eligibility

Family mansion ready for Thaksin but Paetongtarn unsure of parole eligibility

However, the family’s legal adviser Pichit Chuenban said on Friday that he was unsure if Thaksin would be released on parole on February 18 or 22. He added that it depends on how the duration of his imprisonment is counted – 180 days or six full months.

The lawyer reckoned that whichever day it is, Thaksin would be released at 5am – or sunrise as per the law – on the first day he is eligible for parole.

Pichit said he did not know if Thaksin would be paroled later this month as expected, adding that the parole committee consists of representatives from as many as 19 state agencies, and not only the Department of Corrections and the Justice Ministry.

The legal expert explained that parole would allow Thaksin to spend the rest of his prison term at home or any other place specified by the terms of release. The ex-premier would remain under the scrutiny of the Department of Corrections, which would dispatch officials to do occasional checks.

Pichit dismissed speculation that Thaksin would be arrested and handed to public prosecutors for his alleged violation of the lese majeste law the moment he is released on parole. He explained that there was no need to “seize” Thaksin, referring to the term used by critics, as the ex-PM would still be under the authority of the Corrections department during his parole.

Family mansion ready for Thaksin but Paetongtarn unsure of parole eligibility

The lawyer also rejected a conspiracy theory that the lese majeste charge against Thaksin was politically motivated. He said the legal team was well aware of all the legal cases against Thaksin, and this lese majeste charge was “not beyond expectations”.

On Tuesday, the Office of the Attorney-General said it was considering whether to indict Thaksin for defaming the monarchy in his comments made in South Korea in May 2015. In his media interview at that time, the ex-PM claimed that privy councillors had supported the military coup in May 2014, which ousted the government led by his younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

Thaksin, whose government was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006, had been in self-imposed exile overseas for 15 years before his return to Thailand last August.

Considered the patriarch of the ruling Pheu Thai, Thaksin was sent from Bangkok Remand Prison to the Police General Hospital in the early hours of August 23, less than 24 hours after returning to Thailand to serve his prison sentence.

His long stay at the hospital has aroused suspicions about the seriousness of his illness while triggering allegations that he was enjoying VIP treatment from authorities. Some even suspect that Thaksin is no longer staying at the hospital.

The former PM, who served as the country’s leader from February 2001 to September 2006, was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison. The prison terms were reduced to one year following a royal pardon soon after he returned.