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Former Thai PM Thaksin charged with royal insult

Prosecutors will wait for police to complete their investigation before deciding whether to proceed with case against Thaksin, Prayuth says

By AFP
February 07, 2024
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets his supporters after landing at Bangkoks Don Mueang airport on August 22, 2023. — AFP
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets his supporters after landing at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport on August 22, 2023. — AFP

BANGKOK: Thai police have charged former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra with lese-majeste over comments he made almost a decade ago, officials said on Tuesday, though it is not yet clear whether the case will go to court.

Thailand has some of the world´s strictest royal defamation laws protecting King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his close family, with each charge bringing a potential 15-year prison sentence.

Controversial billionaire Thaksin, twice prime minister but ousted in a 2006 coup, returned from self-exile in August last year and was immediately jailed on old graft and abuse-of-power charges. The 74-year-old was transferred to a police hospital almost straight away and has undergone at least two operations.

Prayuth Pecharakun, spokesman for the attorney general´s office, told reporters police filed lese-majeste charges late last month against Thaksin, over comments he made in Seoul in 2015.

Prosecutors will wait for police to complete their investigation before deciding whether to proceed with the case against Thaksin, Prayuth said.

Thaksin denies the charge and has written to the attorney general asking for fair treatment, Prayuth said. ­­­