Jailed former Thai leader Thaksin granted parole

Jailed former Thai leader Thaksin granted parole

BANGKOK: Jailed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been granted parole after serving six months in detention, the prime minister said Tuesday (Feb 13), while highlighting his service to the country.

The influential billionaire, a political heavyweight and arguably Thailand’s best-known prime minister, made a dramatic homecoming after living abroad for 15 years in self-exile to avoid prison for a conflict of interest.

Thaksin soon after had his eight-year jail term commuted to a year by the king. The 74-year-old has served six months of that in hospital detention over an undisclosed health condition and did not spend a single night in prison.

“It’s official that he received parole. It’s in line with the corrections department regulations,” Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, a fellow tycoon and ally of the Shinawatra family, told reporters.

“Thaksin was prime minister for many years and did many good things for the country for a long time. After he comes out, he would be a normal citizen.”

A former policeman and telecoms magnate who has been at the centre of a tumultuous two-decade battle for power in Thailand, Thaksin was on a list of 930 prisoners who were considered elderly or ill and approved for parole, according to media reports.

He could be released after Feb 18, according to corrections department rules. Thaksin’s lawyer Winyat Chatmontri said he has yet to receive a release date.

The exact details of his release are not clear, but he may be subject to monitoring – possibly with an ankle tag – and restrictions on his right to travel.