Thaksin Shinawatra (Tony Woodsome)
The Thai Pakdee party submitted a petition to Corrections Department director general on Monday, opposing any attempt by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to seek a Royal pardon.
The party’s move was triggered by widespread reports that Thaksin, who is serving eight years in prison and who is currently being treated at the Police General Hospital in Bangkok, may seek a pardon.
Anand Sakorncharoen, treasurer of Thai Pakdee, said that, the petition is based on the fact that former prime minister Thaksin has been convicted of corruption in four cases, which gravely damaged the country’s governance and reputation.
“Thaksin also evaded punishment for long time by fleeing abroad, clearly showing that he does not respect the country’s justice system. “Therefore, Thaksin’s petition for a Royal pardon would “bother” the King,” Anand said.
Thaksin’s petition, if granted, would be unjust and emphasise legal and social inequality in the country, he said, and would confirm the axiom that, in Thailand, prison is just for the poor.
When Gen Paiboon Koomchaya was justice minister, he had a firm policy of not facilitating Royal pardons for those convicted on corruption charges.
Anand also said he does not believe that Thaksin is gravely ill and claimed that his current treatment amounts to positive discrimination for those with political influence.
Meanwhile, Thai Pakdee’s deputy leader, Thotsaphon Promket, petitioned the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to pursue remaining charges against Thaksin, including one of lèse majesté.
The Army has also filed a lawsuit against Thaksin, for allegedly defaming the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) during an interview with South Korean media in 2015.
In the interview, Thaksin allegedly accused the Privy Council of being behind the 2014 coup, which ousted the government of his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, as well as the setting up of the NCPO.
Thaksin was charged with lèse majesté and violation of the Computer Crimes Act, in relation to the interview in 2015, and the OAG issued an arrest warrant for Thaksin, who was taking refuge in another country at the time.
“There are outstanding charges against Thaksin, but no progress has been made now that Thaksin is now back in Thailand. The OAG should adhere to the principle of good governance and pursue legal action against every suspect,” Thotsaphon said.