BANGKOK: Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra can petition for a royal pardon on the first day of his imprisonment, acting Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday (July 27).
Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra acknowledges the crowd after arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province in February 2008. Photo: Apichit Jinakul
“All inmates have the right to seek a royal pardon on the first day of imprisonment because this right is available during the time of punishment,” said Mr Wissanu, is also acting as the justice minister. Somsak Thepsuthin resigned as justice minister to join the Pheu Thai Party in March, reports the Bangkok Post.
“If the pardon is not granted after the petition is lodged, it cannot be repeated within the following two years,” Wissanu said.
Upon Thaksin’s return, he will go to court to receive an imprisonment order for his three cases, which have been finalised, resulting in a combined jail term of 10 years, said Wissanu.
Some of the cases have passed their statutes of limitations, and others have not yet reached a court, including the case concerning Thaksin’s escape from the country.
Corrections officials are already prepared to receive the former prime minister, as he had earlier announced his return for his birthday, Wissanu said. Thaksin turned 74 on Wednesday and has lived in self-imposed exile for 15 years.
Thaksin will be treated differently from general inmates due to his age, being older than 60 years. Ill inmates are also eligible for some privileges, which are standard for those who meet the relevant criteria, said the deputy prime minister.
Although there are special rooms at prisons, their use depends on the Corrections Department, and Wissanu said he does not believe that Thaksin could be detained outside of prison.
“He will go to jail however,” Mr Wissanu confirmed. Family members can receive him at (Don Mueang) airport and visit him at prison right away, he added.
Sitthi Sutheewong, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department, said yesterday that all new inmates would be quarantined for COVID-19 observation for five days, and there are special quarantine rooms for elderly inmates.
Inmates with underlying illnesses may be sent to corrections hospitals for appropriate care.
Thaksin has lived in self-imposed exile abroad since fleeing the country after receiving bail to attend the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Shortly before October 2008, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him in absentia to two years in prison for being found guilty of abuse of authority in assisting his then-wife, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, in winning a bid for the Ratchadaphisek property.
Source: The Phuket News