FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

From hospital to mansion: Thaksin to soon be released on parole

From hospital to mansion: Thaksin to soon be released on parole

Justice Minister Thawee Sodsong confirmed that he has approved Thaksin Shinawatra’s parole as he is believed to have completed half his jail term without spending a single night behind bars.

Thawee was responding to earlier reports on Tuesday morning quoting a source from the Justice Ministry saying that the former PM was among the inmates allowed to “spend the rest of their jail terms at home”.

Thaksin’s name was reportedly added to a list initially approved by a subcommittee of the Corrections Department, before being given to Thawee for the final stamp of approval.

The source added that the subcommittee considered Thaksin eligible for parole because he has “served” half of his one-year jail term.

Thaksin, whose government was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006, had been in self-imposed exile overseas for 15 years before returning to Thailand on August 22 last year.

He was sentenced in absentia to eight years in jail in a couple of corruption cases. Upon arriving in Thailand, Thaksin was almost immediately taken to the Supreme Court to acknowledge his jail term and then to the Bangkok Remand Prison. However, later that very night, he was rushed to the Police General Hospital for an unidentified condition and has been receiving treatment there since.

It was earlier reported that Thaksin would complete half of his term on February 18, as it would mark 180 days in detention counting from August 22 last year.

No date set

The source, however, said that so far it cannot be confirmed when Thaksin will be released as the Justice Ministry has to complete proceedings before the actual release date can be announced.

Thawee said he had been given a list of 945 inmates to consider for parole and has agreed to have 930 of them released from jail and placed on house arrest.

The minister noted that Article 52 of the Corrections Act states that a person eligible for parole should have served at least six months or a third of their term, with the remaining time behind bars being less than 10 years.

Thawee added that Thaksin was deemed to be eligible for special parole because he is among the elderly (aged 70 or above) and ill inmates listed.

He said as soon as Thaksin completes his six months “in jail”, he will automatically be granted parole.

Last week, Thaksin’s youngest daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra said the family mansion in Bangkok has been prepared for Thaksin to stay in during his parole.

Crying foul

Opponents of the former leader, however, are outraged by the reprieve, saying Thaksin should not be eligible as he has not spent a single night behind bars.

The Corrections Department had announced regulations for the special parole soon after Thaksin returned. However, the department said this was a coincidence as the law approving the special parole had been enacted much earlier as a measure to reduce congestion in prison.