lese majeste – Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin must appear in court


Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be tried for lèse-majesté. It is about an interview that Thaksin gave in South Korea in 2015. The ex-prime minister rejected accusations that he repeatedly pledged allegiance to the monarchy after returning to his homeland from exile.

Attorney General Amnat Checharoenrak had already made the decision on Monday to charge the 74-year-old, the Bangkok Post newspaper quoted a spokesperson for the authority as saying on Wednesday.

There is a risk of up to 15 years in prison
Last year, after Thaksin’s return after 15 years in exile, the judiciary reopened the investigation into defamation of the royal family. Thailand punishes lèse majesté more severely than almost any other country: violations of the controversial lèse majesté law can carry up to fifteen years in prison.

The former prime minister, who was in power from 2001 to 2006, will also stand trial on a second charge of computer crime. The accusation: he endangered national security. According to the Bangkok Post, he was ordered to appear at the prosecutor’s office on June 18.

Fled to Dubai in 2008
Billionaire Thaksin had become wealthy in the telecommunications industry and was deposed in a military coup in 2006 after five years as head of government. He was later accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for the monarchy. He fled the country in 2008 and has since lived mainly in Dubai to avoid prison.

He returned to Thailand in August 2023 – and was immediately arrested. Shortly afterwards he was taken to the police hospital due to health problems. King Maha Vajiralongkorn eventually reduced Thaksin’s prison sentence from eight years to just one year. In Thailand, convicts over the age of 70 can apply for early release or a royal pardon. In February, Thaksin was released from prison on parole.

Exactly on the day of his return to Thailand, the candidate of the Pheu Thai party he founded, real estate entrepreneur Srettha Thavisin, was elected as the new prime minister last year. Srettha succeeds Prayuth Chan-ocha, who overthrew the previous Pheu Thai government of Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra in a military coup in 2014.

Source: Krone


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