Former Thai premier Thaksin submits petition for royal pardon

Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra has submitted a petition seeking a royal pardon from King Maha Vajiralongkorn for eight years of jail term that he was handed down when he returned to the country from a 15-year self-imposed exile. 

The plea by Thaksin, 74, has been received by the government, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam said on Thursday. The government will consider the petition before passing it on for the king’s consideration, he said. 

The petition came more than a week after Thaksin returned to Thailand. He was shifted to a hospital hours after being lodged in a prison cell in Bangkok and is being treated for heart and lung conditions he developed after contracting Covid-19 three years ago.

Thaksin is eligible for a royal pardon, and either he or any of his relatives can initiate a petition, Wissanu said previously. King Vajiralongkorn has the power to pardon any criminals.

The former leader fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid corruption charges after he was ousted in a 2006 military coup. Upon his return to Thailand, the Supreme Court ordered Thaksin to serve eight years in prison for three of four graft convictions handed down in absentia.

Thaksin’s homecoming was seen as part of a deal with the military establishment that has repeatedly ousted his family and political allies over the past two decades. Hours after his return, Srettha Thavisin, a nominee of the coalition headed by Pheu Thai Party, effectively helmed by Thaksin, was elected as Thailand’s new prime minister. –BLOOMBERG