Thousands of inmates granted royal pardon on HM the King’s birthday

Photo via Klong Prem Central Prison

On his 69th birthday, HM the King granted a royal pardon to more than 200,000 prison inmates and convicts on house arrest. 35,000 of them from 143 prisons will be released on parole while prison sentences for the others will be reduced.

Under the 2021 Royal Pardon Royal Decree imposed today, pardons will be granted within the next 120 days, according to the director-general of the Department of Corrections, Aryut Sinthopphan.

The pardons include…

  • The former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Juthamas Siriwan, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for accepting bribes from hosts of the Bangkok International Film Festival. Under the royal pardon, the ex-tourism chief’s sentence will be reduced to 17 years. Her daughter, Jittisopha, was also involved in the bribery scandal and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. She was granted a royal pardon and her sentence has been reduced to 22 years.
  • The well-known TV news anchor, Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda, who was sentenced to 8 years in prison back in January 2020 over the state-run MCOT’s advertising revenue embezzlement case. The former newscaster has already been granted royal pardons and is now on house arrest with an electronic monitoring device. With the new royal pardon, Sorrayuth will be able to take off the device immediately.
  • Chairman of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, Jatuporn Prompan, who was charged with defaming former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva back in 2009. Jatuporn will be released on parole next month. Since he had less than a year left on his prison sentence, he was eligible for parole under the new pardon, according to the DOC director.
  • Former Democrat Party MP, Khanchit Thapsuwan, who was convicted of premeditated murder back in 2011 for killing the former president of the Samut Sakhon provincial administrative organisation. Khanchit was first sentenced to death, and it was later reduced to life imprisonment. Under the new pardon, he will be released from prison in 11 years.

Those released on parole will need to undergo the agricultural training programme, known in Thai as Khok Nong Na, which is based on the New Theory of Agriculture and the Sufficiency Economy philosophy developed by HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The royal decree also added new rules that allow elderly inmates who are ill to become eligible to receive the royal pardon. Those now eligible for a pardon are those 60 years old or older who have been receiving treatment for at least a year for paralysis, dementia, brain disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, aplastic anaemia, or chronic liver failure.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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