King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand has reduced the eight-year prison sentence imposed on former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to one year, according to the royal newspaper.
Thaksin, Thailand’s most famous politician, made a dramatic comeback last week after 15 years abroad where he went into exile to avoid prison. He arrived on a private jet and greeted his supporters before being transferred to a prison to serve an eight-year sentence for abuse of power and conflict of interest related to his mandate.
“Thaksin accepted his crime and showed remorse,” the Official Gazette document said, adding that the former prime minister was ill.
Hours after his return, Srettha Thavisin of the Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai party won a parliamentary vote to become prime minister with backing from pro-military lawmakers.
Thaksin, a former telecommunications mogul, still wields influence in Thai politics, with parties loyal to him having won every election in the past two decades until this year.
Recent events have fueled speculation that Thaksin has struck a deal with his bitter rivals in the conservative establishment and royalist military, who toppled his parties in coups in 2006 and 2014, accusing him of the time, he and his parties, of corruption and disloyalty to the mighty monarchy. .
Thaksin denied the allegations and rejected any talk of a deal with the generals.
On his first night in jail, Thaksin was transferred to a police hospital for chest pain and high blood pressure.
More details soon…