Former Thai PM Thaksin released on parole

BANGKOK, Feb 18: Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been released on parole, after serving six months in detention at a hospital in Bangkok.

The 74-year-old Thaksin was seen leaving Police General Hospital at 6.06 am (local time) on Sunday, where he had been detained since the day after the eight-year prison sentence handed down on him.

He was seen arriving at his mansion in Bangkok at 6.33 am (local time) in a vehicle with his youngest daughter, Paetongtarn. 

In a social media post, Paetongtarn wrote; “Thaksin has arrived home, hope he will have good health.”

She also shared a photo of her and Thaksin in the car. He was wearing a neck brace.

On Saturday, Thaksin’s family unfurled a “welcome home” banner at the gate of his Bangkok mansion.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for so so long” it read.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on August 22 last year after a 15-year self-imposed exile after he was handed down a prison sentence for misdeeds committed while in office. On the day of his arrival in Thailand the Supreme Court sentenced the former prime minister to eight years in prison.

He was hospitalised at Police General Hospital for health problems few hours into his first night in the Bangkok Remand Prison. Thaksin complained of chest pains, high blood pressure, low blood oxygen level and insomnia when detained at the prison medical ward. 

On September 1, his jail term was reduced to one year through royal clemency. 

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said former premier Thaksin parole is compliant with the Department of Corrections regulations.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong said Thaksin qualified for early release because he is in the eligible category of inmates who have serious illnesses, are disabled or are over the age of 70.