Convicted Thai Ex-Pm Thaksin Facing Possible Royal Insults Charge
16:41 JST, February 6, 2024
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s attorney general is considering prosecuting convicted former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra over an alleged insult of the powerful monarchy, an official said on Tuesday, just weeks away from his possible release on parole.
The complaint concerns a 2015 interview he gave while in South Korea and was filed by a junta that ran Thailand after the military overthrew a government led by Thaksin’s sister. Thaksin has repeatedly pledged loyalty to the monarchy.
Insulting the crown is a serious offence and a major slur in Thailand, where the constitution states the king must be held in a position of “revered worship”. The lese-majeste law is among the world’s strictest, with each perceived offence punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The influential Thaksin, prime minister from 2001-2006, made a dramatic homecoming last August from 15 years in self-imposed exile to serve an eight-year jail sentence for abuse of power, later commuted to one year by the king.
The billionaire is being detained at a hospital with an undisclosed health problem and has yet to spend a full night in prison. He is eligible for parole later this month.
Prayut Petchkhun, spokesperson for the attorney-general’s office, told reporters the seven-year delay in acting on the royal insults complaint was because Thaksin had been abroad.
He gave no timeframe for when a decision would be taken, adding Thaksin, 74, had denied wrongdoing and provided authorities with “a letter requesting fairness”. He did not elaborate on the allegation against Thaksin.
If Thaksin is freed he would be detained by police, Prayut said, adding he could be released temporarily while the attorney general considers whether to press charges.
Thaksin’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thailand current government is backed by the Shinawatra family, with Thaksin’s return coinciding with ally and real estate mogul Srettha Thavisin becoming prime minister that same day.
Thaksin’s allies have denied speculation of a backroom political deal between the former leader and his powerful enemies.
The announcement of a possible new case against Thaksin comes a week after Move Forward, the biggest party in parliament, was forced by a court to abandon its controversial plan to amend the lese-majeste law.
Move Forward was hit days after by a succession of complaints seeking its dissolution and life bans for dozens of lawmakers over its stance on the law protecting the crown.
"News Services" POPULAR ARTICLE
At Japan Airlines, Bankruptcy Helped Lay Groundwork for First Female Boss
Taylor Swift Launches Legal Broadside at a College Student Who Tracks Private Jets Via Public Data
Unofficial Indonesia Election Vote Count Points to First Round Prabowo Win
North Korea Scraps All Economic Cooperation with South Korea
Special Counsel: Biden ‘Willfully’ Disclosed Classified Materials, But No Criminal Charges Warranted
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Current Account Surplus Doubles in ’23
- Business, Labor Leaders Reaffirm Vow to Raise Wages in Shunto Talks
- Japan Real Wages Fall at Steepest Pace in 9 Years in 2023
- Pressure Mounting for Wage Increases in Shunto Negotiations; Fears about the Response of Struggling SMEs
- North Korean Workers in China Riot over Unpaid Wages; 2,000 Occupy Factory, Kill Plant Manager