Thailand’s king has granted a commutation of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s eight-year prison sentence to just one year, according to an announcement in the royal gazette on Friday. This decision came one day after the billionaire politician submitted a request for a royal pardon.
Thaksin Shinawatra, now 74 years old, made a dramatic return to Thailand last week, ending his 15-year self-imposed exile abroad. He had been staying abroad to evade imprisonment on charges related to abuse of power and conflicts of interest during his tenure as the country’s prime minister.
His homecoming was marked by the arrival of a private jet, which carried him to Thailand. Upon his return, he was immediately transferred to prison to commence serving his original eight-year sentence. However, on his first night in custody, he was transferred to a police hospital due to reported chest pains and high blood pressure.
On Thursday, Thaksin submitted a formal request for a royal pardon.
The royal gazette’s statement on Friday expressed the reasons behind the commutation, stating, “Thaksin was a prime minister, has done good for the country and people, and is loyal to the monarchy.” It further noted his willingness to respect the legal process, acknowledgment of guilt, repentance, and acceptance of court verdicts. The statement also highlighted Thaksin’s advanced age and his need for medical care due to his health issues.
Thaksin Shinawatra’s return to Thailand had sparked significant attention and debate within the country’s political landscape. His commuted sentence is seen as a significant development in his legal situation and could potentially impact the political dynamics in Thailand.
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