Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin is released on parole after serving 6 months in a hospital

  • February 17, 2024

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, center, sits in a vehicle with his daughters Paetongtarn and Pinthongta after being released on parole Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thaksin was released from Police General Hospital where for the last six months he had been serving time for corruption-related offenses. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK – Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was released on parole early Sunday from a Bangkok hospital where he spent six months serving time for corruption-related offenses.

Thaksin was seen wearing a neck support inside one of the cars in a convoy leaving the Police General Hospital just before sunrise, and he arrived at his residence in western Bangkok less than an hour later. A homemade banner with the words “Welcome home” and “We’ve been waiting for this day for so so long” was seen hanging at the front gate of his house.

A polarizing figure in Thai politics over the last two decades, Thaksin was in office from 2001 until he was toppled in a 2006 coup. He was later convicted of abuse of power and other misdeeds while in office and returned in August from more than a decade of self-imposed exile to serve his prison sentence.

His original eight-year sentence was commuted to only a year by King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Sept. 1. Thaksin had called his convictions politically motivated.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong confirmed approval of Thaksin’s parole last week, citing the possibility of early release for inmates who have serious illnesses, are disabled or are over age 70. Thaksin is 74 years old.

He was confined to a police hospital in Bangkok. Opponents charged that serving his sentence in a hospital was a special privilege.

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