Thailand’s ex-PM returns home after release on parole

SuchTV  |  Feb 19, 2024

The controversial billionaire, twice elected premier and ousted in a 2006 military coup, was jailed for eight years on abuse-of-power and graft charges upon his return in August.

But his sentence was cut to one year by King Maha Vajiralongkorn within days of his return and the government announced last week that the 74-year-old was eligible for early release because of his age and health.

Thaksin — wearing a neck brace and sitting next to his daughters Paeton­gtarn and Pintongta — was driven away on Sunday from the police hospital in central Bangkok where he had spent the past six months.

A handful of people protesting against his release had gathered in front of the hospital.

The car then drove to Thaksin’s home, where a welcome banner was tied a cross the gates.

One woman wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Thaksin emblazoned across the front said she had stood outside his house for two days.

“I want to tell him to fight,” she told local media. “If he is (here), the country will develop.”

Thaksin may be subject to monitoring — possibly with an ankle tag — and restrictions on his right to travel.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin suggested on Sunday that Thaksin would not involve himself in politics but said, if and when he is ready to give advice, “everyone in the government is ready to listen”.

Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn posted a picture on Instagram of him sitting in front of a swimming pool at his home, his arm in a sling, on Sunday.

“After no fresh air and sunlight for 180 days and 17 years away from home, Dad sits outside for a long time,” she wrote.

The former Manchester City owner’s arrival back in Thailand came on the same day his Pheu Thai party returned to government in alliance with pro-military parties, leading many to conclude that a backroom deal had been struck to cut his jail time.

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