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Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be paroled from prison

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is to be paroled from prison, the country's justice minister announced Tuesday. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is to be paroled from prison, the country’s justice minister announced Tuesday. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE

Feb. 13 (UPI) — Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand will be released from prison, the Asian nation’s justice minister said Tuesday, just months after he was jailed following his return to the country this summer from 15 years of self-imposed exile.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong told reporters Tuesday that Thaksin, 74, was one of 930 inmates whose parole application had been approved, the Bangkok Post reported.

According to Tawee, Thaksin had qualified for parole as he was above the age of 70, suffered from serious illnesses and had served more than six months of his one-year sentence.

“I would like to say, this is normal,” Tawee said. “Parole for serious illness, disability or being aged 70 years or more began in 2003. Since then, 2,240 people have been paroled.”

Thaksin was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison on Aug. 22 when he returned to the kingdom 15 years after fleeing the country following his ousting in a military coup.

His sentence included two three-year sentences to be concurrently served and a five-year sentence in a third case on charges of conflict of interest and abuse of authority — charges that he maintained were politically motivated.

Shortly after his arrest, he was taken to the Police General Hospital as he suffered from various health issues.

A little more than a week after his return and arrest, Thaksin received a royal pardon that reduced his sentence to one year.

Thaksin served as prime minister of the country from 2001 until he was unseated in the coup, and he returned to Thailand on the day Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of the Pheu Thai Party was voted into power. Thaksin’s youngest daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, currently leads the Pheu Thai Party.

Last week, Paetongtarn said the Shinawatra mansion had been prepared for her father to stay if his parole were to be approved.

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