11 July 2024

The Criminal Court has granted bail to paroled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but he has had to surrender his passport after being formally indicted on charges of lèse majesté and violation of the Computer Crime Act today.

The court agreed to grant Thaksin release on remand on a Bt500,000 bail bond, on the grounds that he is elderly, has denied the charges, was granted bail during the investigating process and has a permanent residence with his family.

The public prosecutor did not object to the granting of bail.

To ensure that Thaksin will not attempt to escape, interfere with evidence and witnesses or obstruct the judicial proceedings, the court decided to confiscate his passport and prohibit him from leaving the country without prior permission from the court.

The immigration police will be notified by the court.

Thaksin skipped reporting to the Office of Attorney General, to personally acknowledge the charges against him, with his lawyer, Winyat Chartmontri, doing so in his place.

Instead, he went directly to the court.

At the court, Thaksin was formally indicted for remarks he made to South Korean Chosun media in 2015.

During that interview he accused the Privy Council, the military and Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the now defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which spearheaded the mass protests against the then administration of Yingluck Shinawatra, for the coup which ousted the government, according to the charge sheet.

Thaksin’s remarks are deemed to be an insult to late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thaksin earlier told the media that he is confident that he can defend himself and will aim to prove that his prosecution is the “toxic fruit” of a military coup.

On May 29, the Attorney General (AG) decided to charge Thaksin with lèse-majesté, but agreed to postpone his indictment until today, on the grounds that Thaksin had COVID-19 and his doctor had advised him to rest until June.

Pongniwat Yuthapanboripan, a former AG, had decided to indict Thaksin on September 19, 2016, but the process was suspended because Thaksin was in self-imposed exile at the time.

After his return to Thailand last August, and eventual treatment at the Police General Hospital, the director-general of the AG’s investigative office, along with police, visited Thaksin on January 17 to notify him of the lèse-majesté charge..