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Crime-Justice

Former Thai prime minister to face defamation of monarch charge

IANS | June 18, 2024 02:07 PM

BANGKOK: Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been charged with defaming the monarch, the Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday, citing the attorney-general's official spokesman.

Shinawatra, 74, appeared in a Bangkok court and was released on bail of 500, 000 baht ($13, 600), the report said.

Thaksin is accused of defaming the monarch, known as lèse-majesté under the Thai criminal code, during a 2015 interview in South Korea. Thai prosecutors took up the case again last year after he returned from 15 years in exile. He faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison in a country where lèse-majesté is regarded as a serious offence.

Thaksin, prime minister between 2001 and 2006, will also have to answer computer crime charges related to inputting information into a computer system seen as a threat to national security, the Bangkok Post reported.

He has denied all charges.

The billionaire prime minister was ousted in coup in 2006. He was subsequently charged with corruption and abuse of power, as well as failing to respect the monarchy. He fled the country in 2008 to avoid a prison sentence.

Thaksin was arrested and tried on his return to Thailand in 2023. King Maha Vajiralongkorn cut his sentence to one year from the eight imposed by the court, and he was released in February. Thailand permits prisoners older than 70 to apply for parole or a royal pardon.

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