Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was sentenced to eight years in prison on his return home from 15 years of exile, will remain in a police hospital for now and may consider seeking a royal pardon for his corruption convictions, according to his family.
(Bloomberg) — Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was sentenced to eight years in prison on his return home from 15 years of exile, will remain in a police hospital for now and may consider seeking a royal pardon for his corruption convictions, according to his family.
Thaksin, 74, who was shifted to the hospital shortly after being lodged in a Bangkok prison on his return last week, will handle the necessary paperwork for the petition to King Maha Vajiralongkorn by himself, daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra said on Tuesday.
“We leave it all up to him to do it however and whenever he wants to,” Paetongtarn told reporters. “He’ll handle drafting the letter and seeing it through all by himself.”
For now, Thaksin is being treated for heart and lung conditions he developed after contracting Covid-19 three years ago, said Paetongtarn, who has visited Thaksin twice this week. He has been experiencing fatigue and stress since his return, but isn’t seeking a transfer to a private hospital, she said.
It’s not clear how long he has to remain hospitalized, she added.
Thaksin is eligible for a royal pardon, and either he or any of his relatives can initiate a petition, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam said last week. King Vajiralongkorn has the power to pardon any criminals.
The former leader fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid corruption charges after he was ousted in a 2006 military coup. Upon his return to Thailand, the Supreme Court ordered Thaksin to serve eight years in prison for three of four graft convictions handed down in absentia.
Thaksin’s homecoming was seen as part of a deal with the military establishment that has repeatedly ousted his family and political allies over the past two decades. Hours after his return, Srettha Thavisin, a nominee of the coalition headed by Pheu Thai Party, effectively helmed by Thaksin, was elected as Thailand’s new prime minister.
Srettha’s appointment ended more than three months of political deadlock that had rattled markets since the May election. Srettha is expected to seek the king’s endorsement for his new ministerial team later this week after a line-up was finalized on Monday.
The next government is expected to take power in early September and steer Thailand’s $500 billion economy, the second-largest in Southeast Asia.
–With assistance from Pathom Sangwongwanich.
(Updates throughout with details, context.)
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