Thailand’s ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra returns home after jail release

Thaksin Shinawatra

Thailand’s former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted of corruption and abuse of power, has been released on parole and returned to his mansion in Bangkok.

The billionaire, aged 74, was freed from a police hospital where he had been serving a one-year sentence. He had been detained upon his return to Thailand in August after 15 years in self-imposed exile but did not spend a night in jail due to health complaints.

Originally sentenced to eight years, his term was reduced to one by the king shortly after his return, sparking criticism over preferential treatment for the wealthy and powerful.

Thailand’s Move Forward Party, which won the majority of seats in the last election but was blocked from forming a government, called for equal treatment under the law.

Questions have been raised about Thaksin’s health, with Senator Somchai Swangkarn questioning the need for parole.

Thaksin, a polarizing figure, was seen leaving the police hospital, greeted with well wishes on social media. He is eligible for parole due to age and health reasons, though conditions of his release were not disclosed.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin stated readiness to listen to Thaksin’s political advice but has no immediate plans to meet him.

Thaksin, ousted by a coup in 2006, spent years in exile in London and Dubai. His family’s Pheu Thai party currently holds power in Thailand.

While reviled by Bangkok’s elite, he remains popular among rural Thais for his populist policies. Thaksin made history as Thailand’s first elected PM to serve a full term from 2001-2006.


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