King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand has reduced the prison sentence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from eight years to one.
- Thailand’s King has reduced the sentence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from eight years to one, citing his age, illness, remorse, and loyalty to the monarchy.
- Thaksin’s return from exile and his party’s coalition with military-royalist opponents have stirred controversy and angered supporters, leading to the sidelining of the pro-reform Move Forward party.
- While some supporters welcome the reduced sentence for Thaksin, others argue that justice should be served equally, highlighting the ongoing issue of lese majesty charges and the suppression of dissent in Thailand.
The decision, published in the royal gazette, cited Thaksin’s acceptance of his crime, remorse, age, and illness as reasons for the reduction. Thaksin, who recently returned from self-imposed exile, will now be able to contribute his knowledge and experience to serve Thailand and its people.
Thaksin, the billionaire former leader, returned from exile on a private jet last week on the same day his party, Pheu Thai, took office as part of a controversial coalition with its military-royalist opponents. This alliance angered many voters and pushed the pro-reform Move Forward party into the opposition. Thaksin’s return sparked suspicion of a political deal, which his party denied. He was moved to hospital on his first night in prison after experiencing health issues.
Thaksin, a polarizing figure in Thai politics, was a successful prime minister known for improving the economy and welfare policies, but was also criticized for human rights abuses and corruption. He and his sister were ousted in military coups in 2006 and 2014, with his sister remaining in exile. His party’s coalition with former military enemies has angered many supporters and sidelined other parties.
The reduction in sentence has sparked mixed reactions, with some supporters welcoming it while others argue that justice should be served equally to all. The move has also drawn attention to the lese majesty law and the charges faced by individuals involved in protests calling for monarchy reform in Thailand.