Thaksin Shinawatra to face monarchy insult charges in Thailand

Picture courtesy of Thairath

Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand, announced his readiness to confront charges of insulting the monarchy. The announcement came yesterday, with Thaksin expressing confidence about facing the allegations head-on.

The former Thai PM confirmed his intention to meet with prosecutors tomorrow and stated to reporters that he was prepared to fight the case.

“It’s nothing. The case is baseless.”

On May 29, the attorney general indicted Thaksin on charges of royal defamation under Section 112 of the Criminal Code and computer crime charges. These charges stem from an interview he gave to a Korean newspaper on February 21, 2015.

The computer crime charge accuses Thaksin of inputting information into a computer system that was considered a threat to national security.

Initially, prosecutors were unable to arraign Thaksin on May 29 due to his lawyer’s statement that Thaksin had contracted Covid-19 and needed to rest. He has since recovered from the illness.

Thaksin is accused of defaming the monarchy during his interview with the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, where he claimed that privy councillors supported the 2014 coup that ousted his younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, from power.

At 74 years old, Thaksin denies any wrongdoing and has consistently pledged loyalty to the crown. Criticism of the monarchy is strictly prohibited under Thai law, which is one of the harshest of its kind globally.

Thaksin’s case is the most prominent among over 270 prosecutions in the past four years under the royal defamation law, which imposes a maximum jail term of 15 years for each perceived insult against the royal family.

The initial complaint regarding Thaksin’s interview was filed in 2015 by General Udomdej Sitabutr, who was then the deputy defence minister in the military government led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Gen. Udomdej ordered the Judge Advocate General’s Department to initiate legal action against Thaksin. Consequently, the Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit, and the Criminal Court accepted the case for trial in 2015, issuing an arrest warrant for Thaksin, who was abroad at the time, reported Bangkok Post.

Thaksin returned to Thailand in August last year and was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison for abuse of authority and conflict of interest during his tenure from 2001 to 2006.

This sentence was later reduced to one year on a royal pardon. Notably, Thaksin did not spend a single night behind bars, as he was granted parole after spending six months at the Police General Hospital.

Politics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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