Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra indicted for royal defamation

29 May 2024, 10:14

Thailand Thaksin
Thailand Thaksin. Picture: PA

There has been a delay in arresting the 74-year-old after he contracted Covid-19.

Thai prosecutors have said former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be indicted for defaming the monarchy, three months after he was freed on parole on other charges.

He will not be immediately arrested after filing a postponement request on Wednesday after contracting Covid-19.

Prayuth Bejraguna, spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, said at a news conference that officials had verified that he was ill.

Thaksin Shinawatra visits Buddist centre
Thaksin Shinawatra pictured one year after being ousted from office (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The attorney general’s office has a new appointment scheduled for Thaksin’s indictment on June 18, adding that the former Thai leader will also be indicted for violating the Computer Crime Act.

Thaksin had been in self-imposed exile since 2008, but returned to Thailand in August last year to begin serving an eight-year sentence.

He was released on parole in February from a Bangkok hospital, where he spent six months serving time for corruption-related offences.

He was moved almost immediately from prison to the hospital on grounds of ill health. About a week later, King Maha Vajiralongkorn reduced his sentence to a single year.

The former prime minister was granted parole earlier this month because of his age — he is 74 — and ill health, leaving him free for the remainder of his one-year sentence.

After the return, the attorney general’s office said it had revived an investigation into whether Thaksin had violated the law against defaming the monarch almost nine years ago, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Thaksin was initially charged in 2016 with violating the law for remarks he made to journalists in Seoul, South Korea, a year before. Officials said the investigation could proceed only after he was presented with the charge in person in the hospital in January.

He denied the charges and submitted a statement defending himself.

Mr Prayuth said there is enough evidence for the attorney general to indict Thaksin. He said the prosecutors had prepared their statement and documents to present to the court next month.

Thaksin’s lawyer Winyat Chatmontree said he is confident he has a strong defence for his client.

“We have been working on this for several months, since we submitted the statement of defence,” he told The Associated Press.

“But whether we will win the case, it’s up to the court’s discretion based on the evidence.”

Mr Winyat also claimed that the video of Thaksin’s comments that investigators used as evidence might have been manipulated.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

The leaders of France left-wing coalition for the upcoming election Green Party Yannick Jadot, Communist Party national secretary Fabien Roussel, Socialist Party Secretary General Olivier Faure Presid

France’s leftist alliance leaders vow to ‘extinguish the flame’ of far right

G7 world leaders and other leaders from guest nations attend a working session on artificial intelligence, on day two of the 50th G7 summit in southern Italy

G7 leaders tackle migration, AI and economic security on final day of summit

Cyril Ramaphosa listens as members of parliament are sworn in ahead of an expected vote to decide if he is re-elected as leader of the country

Ramaphosa set for re-election in South Africa after coalition agreement

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky talks to journalists during a news conference in Italy

How 50 billion-dollar loan for Ukraine backed by frozen Russian assets will work

Justice Department

US attorney general will not be prosecuted for contempt of Congress

Lynn Conway sitting on a bench at the University of Michigan

Lynn Conway, microchip pioneer who overcame transgender prejudice, dies aged 86

Johnny Canales on stage at the Tejano Music Awards in San Antonio, Texas in 2012

Tejano singer and TV host Johnny Canales dies at 77

A rare white buffalo calf, reportedly born in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley, with an adult buffalo on grassland

Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf ‘fulfils tribal prophecy’

An Israeli flag flutters next to a fire burning in an area near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel

Hezbollah warns its intensified attacks show Israel all-out war would be costly

Vladimir Putin

Putin pledges ceasefire in Ukraine if Kyiv withdraws troops and drops Nato bid

Alex Jones speaking to the media after arriving at court in Houston, Texas, for a hearing in front of a bankruptcy judge on Friday

Judge rules Alex Jones’ assets to be sold to help pay Sandy Hook debt

Actor and producer Ron Simons pictured in a red jumper during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival

Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Ron Simons dies aged 63

Chamchuri with her newborn elephant twins in Ayutthaya province, Thailand

Rare twin elephants in Thailand receive monks’ blessings

Crocodile caught in van by authorities.

Crocodile that terrorised village and 'lunged' at children is killed and cooked for traditional feast

Cambodian officers burn drugs inside a brick kiln during a drug destruction ceremony

Cambodia burns £55m of seized illegal drugs

Retired army general Paul Nakasone in army uniform

OpenAI appoints former top US cyberwarrior and ex-army general to its board