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Updated February 13th, 2024 at 12:51 IST

Jailed Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra to Be Freed Soon, Justice Minister Confirms

Thailand's jailed Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra will soon be out of prison as Thailand's Justice Minister confirmed that his parole petition was approved.

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, arrive Don Muang airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on Aug. 22, 2023
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, arrive Don Muang airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on Aug. 22, 2023 | Image:AP
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Bangkok – Thailand's jailed Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will soon be out of prison as Thailand's Justice Minister confirmed that his parole petition was approved by a Thai court. Shinawatra will be out of prison just six months after he returned to the country after 15 years of self-imposed exile. Shinawatra, who was the former chief of the English premier league soccer club Manchester City, became the Prime Minister of Thailand in 2001. He was ousted by a military coup in 2006 and went to New York. The former Thai premier made a comeback on August 22 and was sentenced to eight years in prison for conflict of interest abuse of power and corruption during his time in power. 

On Tuesday, Thailand's Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong confirmed that Shinawatra was one of the 930 inmates who have been granted parole this month, CNN reported. “He is in the group where they are in a critical condition or aged over 70. He will be released after six months automatically,” Sodsong told reporters. Just one week after he was convicted in August last year, Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn reduced the former premier's prison sentence from eight to one year after he submitted a request for a royal pardon. According to Sodsong, the 74-year-old billionaire was eligible for parole since he falls into the category of inmates who are over the age of 70 or are suffering from some sort of chronic illness. The minister noted that the Corrections Department is working on a date for Thaksin’s release. 

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The kingmaker 

Throughout his political career, Shinawatra was popular among the rural population and working class. It was believed that his policies were anathema to the rich elite conservatives who accused him of being a dangerous and corrupt populist. Despite being in a 15-year-long exile, the Thai premier held a strong influence in the country's mainstream politics. According to CNN, until last year, political parties allied to Thaksin had won the most seats in every election since 2001. It is pertinent to note that his homecoming is coincided with his Pheu Thai party returning to government in alliance with pro-military parties. Many started to speculate that the former Thai premier was behind the negotiation process. It is still not clear exactly how long Shinawatra spent his time in prison. Last Year, Thaksin was transferred to a hospital due to chest tightness, high blood pressure and low oxygen levels, according to the Thai Corrections Department. 

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 12:51 IST

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