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Thailand’s King Reduces Prison Sentence for Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra in Partial Amnesty Decree

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Bangkok: Former Thai Prime Minister’s Prison Sentence Reduced by King’s Decree

The Decree and its Impact

The King of Thailand, Maha Vachiralongkun (Rama X), has reduced the prison sentence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as part of a partial amnesty. Shinawatra had returned to the country after 17 years of immigration and was originally sentenced to 8 years in prison for corruption in three separate cases. The decree, which was published on the Government’s Official Gazette website, states that the reduction in sentence is aimed at utilizing Shinawatra’s knowledge, capabilities, and experience for the benefit of the people of Thailand. The 74-year-old politician will now serve a one-year prison term.

The Royal Decree

Royal Decree No. 1/2566 was issued on August 31, 2023, and was published on the Royal Government Gazette website. This special bulletin serves as a platform for publishing new royal decrees, laws, and regulations in Thailand. The decree came into effect immediately upon publication.

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Shinawatra’s Petition and Health Condition

Shinawatra had submitted a petition for a royal pardon through the relevant authorities of the Thai Ministry of Justice. According to Acting Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Visanu Khriangam, the petition was received by the Minister of Justice on Thursday. Currently, Shinawatra is undergoing examination and treatment at the Central Police Hospital in Thailand. He suffered an asthma attack upon his arrival in the country on August 22 and was transferred from Klong Prem Central Prison to the hospital due to his medical condition. Shinawatra has coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and residual traces of COVID-19 in his lungs from a previous infection.

A History of Political Division

Thailand has experienced significant political division over the past eighteen years, primarily revolving around the support and opposition for Thaksin Shinawatra and his political family. The Shinawatra family has faced multiple instances of military coups and mass demonstrations, resulting in clashes and bloodshed between supporters and opponents. Despite this, Shinawatra’s populist policies, such as the introduction of social security and public health insurance, have garnered widespread popularity among various sections of Thai society.

Shinawatra’s Political Career and Legal Issues

Before entering politics, Shinawatra established the telecommunications company Shinawatra Corporation, which played a pioneering role in cellular and satellite communications in Southeast Asia. He ranked 18th on Forbes magazine’s global list of personal wealth in 1997. Shinawatra’s political party achieved a historic victory in the 2001 elections, forming a one-party government with a majority in Parliament. However, his government was overthrown by a military coup in 2006, and Shinawatra faced corruption charges. He left the country and has since been subject to additional corruption cases in Thai courts.

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