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Jailed Thai ex-PM to be freed, says minister

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BANGKOK: Jailed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is to be freed, the kingdom’s justice minister said Tuesday, possibly as soon as the weekend — just six months after returning from 15 years of self-imposed exile.

The controversial billionaire, twice elected premier and ousted in a 2006 military coup, was jailed for eight years on graft and abuse of power charges in August, but within days had his sentence cut to one year by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong said Tuesday that the former Manchester City owner, 74, would be among 930 prisoners granted early release.

“He is in the group where they are in a critical condition or aged over 70. He will be released after six months automatically,” Tawee Sodsong told reporters.

Thaksin was jailed on August 22 last year, and Thai media reported that his release could come any day from Saturday.

The exact details of his release are not clear, but he may be subject to monitoring — possibly with an ankle tag — and restrictions on his right to travel.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2024

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