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 Click The Law - Headline Legal News
Ex-Thailand PM Shinawatra indicted for defaming monarchy
Court News | 2024/06/17 00:02
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was indicted and arraigned Tuesday on a charge of defaming the country’s monarchy in one of several court cases that have rattled Thai politics. He was granted bail.

Thaksin is the unofficial power behind the party leading the government, Pheu Thai, despite being ousted from power in a coup 18 years ago.

He reported himself to prosecutors Tuesday morning and was indicted, Prayuth Bejraguna, a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, said at a news conference.

Thaksin, 74, voluntarily returned to Thailand last year from self-imposed exile and served virtually all of his sentence on corruption-related charges in a hospital rather than prison on medical grounds. He was granted release on parole in February.

Since then, Thaksin has maintained a high profile, traveling the country making public appearances and political observations that could upset the powerful conservative establishment that was behind his 2006 ouster.

His removal from power had started a deep political polarization in Thailand. Thaksin’s opponents, who were generally staunch royalists, accused him of corruption, abuse of power and disrespecting then-King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016.

Prosecution of the long-ago lese majeste case is seen by some analysts as a warning from Thaksin’s enemies that he should tone down his political activities.

Thaksin’s lawyer, Winyat Chatmontree, told reporters that Thaksin was ready to enter the judicial process. The Criminal Court, where Thakisin was arraigned after being indicted, said Thaksin’s bail release was approved with a bond of 500,000 baht ($13,000) under the condition that he cannot travel out of Thailand unless approved by court. His passport was confiscated.

The law on defaming the monarchy, an offense known as lese majeste, is punishable by three to 15 years in prison. It is among the harshest such laws globally and increasingly has been used in Thailand to punish government critics.



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