Thai prisons chief promises answers for Thaksin’s prolonged hospital stay by next week

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Prisons Chief Sahakarn Phetnarin promises to provide long-awaited answers for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra‘s extended residency at the Police General Hospital.

Director-General Phetnarin cited the need for a few more days to gather information meticulously from both the prison hospital and the Police General Hospital regarding Thaksin’s health conditions. He assured the public that all lingering questions would be addressed in the forthcoming report.

“It is late because the process requires meetings with doctors. Next week, the Department of Corrections will elaborate on the matter, and questions raised by the people will definitely be answered.”

Despite the announcement, a storm is brewing, with dissenters of Thaksin’s extended hospital sojourn planning a protest at Government House this Friday, January 12.

The 74 year old tycoon made headlines when he returned to Thailand on August 22 last year, ending 15 years of self-imposed exile. He promptly entered the justice system, facing corruption and abuse of authority charges dating back to the pre-2006 military coup era. A rapid courtroom saga ensued, resulting in an eight-year prison sentence on the same day, later graciously reduced to one year by royal clemency.

Thaksin found himself relocated to the Police General Hospital under the dubious guise of health reasons the same night. Allegedly undergoing surgery, he has remained cloistered there, shielded from public view, raising eyebrows and speculation.

A ticking clock hangs over this spectacle, as the minister of justice must acknowledge any stay beyond 120 days for an inmate receiving medical treatment outside a prison hospital. This deadline, set for December 21 last year, passed without a word, reported Bangkok Post.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong cited delayed reports due to pending doctor meetings, adding fuel to the growing fire of scepticism. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, however, assures the public of procedural correctness, pledging that the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections have followed due process.

“I am confident that they have done things right. However, they must give the clarification required by law.”

As tension mounts, a House committee on police affairs is set to visit the Police General Hospital, attempting to unveil the truth behind Thaksin’s mysterious confinement.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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