Thai King reduces ex-PM Thaksin’s jail term to 1 year

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Following the billionaire submitting a request for pardon.

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn reduced former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s eight-year jail term to one year.

The pardon was announced a day after Thaksin’s request.

The Royal Gazette said Thaksin was a prime minister who did good for the country and the people and was loyal to the monarchy.

It said Thaksin respected the process, admitted his guilt, and accepted the court’s verdict.

“He (Thaksin) is old and has health issues that need treatment from medical professionals.

“His Majesty graciously granted forgiveness and reduced the sentence to one year so that he (Thaksin) could use his knowledge and experiences to help the country, society, and the people,” it said.

The 74-year-old Thaksin returned to Thailand on Aug 22 after a 15-year self-imposed exile. On the same day, the Supreme Court sentenced the former prime minister to eight years in prison for corruption charges.

He was hospitalised at Police General Hospital for health problems a few hours into his first night in the Bangkok Remand Prison.

Thaksin complained of chest pains, high blood pressure, low blood oxygen level, and insomnia when detained at the prison medical ward.

Earlier this week, an anti-Thaksin group had lodged a complaint with the Corrections Department opposing Thaksin’s attempt to seek a royal pardon, arguing there should be no clemency for corruption cases because they have gravely damaged the country’s governance and reputation.

Despite being away for 15 years, Thaksin remains an influential figure in Thai policies with parties loyal to him winning every election since 2001 until this year.

His return overshadowed a vote in parliament that installed political ally Srettha Thavisin of the Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai party, as prime minister.

Srettha, a real estate tycoon, received support from pro-military and conservative parties connected to the same generals who ousted Thaksin’s governments in 2006 and 2014.