Ex-PM Thaksin’s special treatment risks unrest, warns senator

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra greeting his supporters | Photo courtesy of The Irrawaddy

A cautionary note has been sounded by a senator who has advised the government to exercise equal treatment for all prisoners. The senator has expressed concerns that the special treatment accorded to Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister who has been convicted, could potentially invite future complications for the government.

The warning was issued on Tuesday during the second day of parliamentary discussions focused on the government’s policy statement. Thawil Pliensri, the senator, revealed that 74 year old Thaksin spent roughly 13 hours at Bangkok Remand Prison before he was shifted to the Police General Hospital.

Thaksin has been receiving medical care in Royal Suite 1401, a private room on the 14th floor of the Maha Bhumibol Rachanusorn 88 Phansa Building. This was after he experienced symptoms of chest pain, hypertension, and low oxygen levels in his blood on the night of August 22, the same day he returned to Thailand and was incarcerated.

Having spent over 20 days in the hospital, Thaksin has been permitted to receive up to 10 visitors daily. Furthermore, he has been granted a royal pardon that has significantly reduced his eight-year prison sentence to just one year.

This has led Thawil to call on the government to ensure equal treatment for all prisoners.

“I implore the government to adhere to its principles and uphold judicial standards. The privileges Thaksin is being accorded may cause discontent among many, which may lead to unforeseen incidents in the future.”

In the meantime, Praphrut Chatprapachai, a legal expert and former candidate for the Democrat MP, has urged the government to take legal action against Thaksin. This comes in response to Thaksin’s violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, otherwise known as the lese majeste law.

According to Praphrut, Thaksin gave a media interview in South Korea in 2015, which had implications related to the monarchy. This led General Udomdej Sitabutr, the former deputy defence minister and secretary-general of the now-defunct National Peace Keeping Council, to instruct the Judge Advocate General’s Department to sue Thaksin.

The lawsuit was initiated by the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG). The Criminal Court accepted the case for trial in 2015 and issued an arrest warrant for Thaksin.

As a result, Praphrut is now urging Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to direct the police to continue the legal action against Thaksin. He warns that if the government fails to take action, it could expose a loophole that may be exploited by groups or individuals to demand the release of other inmates who violated Section 112.

He warned that This could potentially lead to calls for amendments to Section 112 in the future, something many candidates and parties argued for in the recent elections.

Follow more of The Thaiger’s latest stories on our new Facebook page HERE.

Politics NewsThailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Related Articles