Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be freed: Reports | Politics News

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The Justice Minister says Thaksin was one of 930 prisoners who were granted parole on Tuesday and are expected to be released after February 17.

Jailed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand is expected to be released, according to local media reports.

Thaksin, 74, was jailed for eight years for abuse of power before a royal pardon reduced the term to one year, due to age and health, Thai media reported on Tuesday, citing Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong.

The politician and business tycoon was rushed to the hospital after one night in jail due to high blood pressure and has been there ever since.

He was among 930 inmates granted parole on Tuesday, Tawee told reporters, and is expected to be released after February 17.

Thailand returned to Thailand last August after more than 14 years in exile.

Thaksin swept to power in 2001 on a populist platform that appealed to rural Thais who had long been neglected by the country’s ruling elites. He was returned in a landslide five years later but, in September 2006, as Thaksin was in New York preparing to address the United Nations, the military seized power in a coup.

Thaksin – who was also accused of human rights abuses amid violent clashes in the country’s predominantly Muslim south and a “drug war”, which left thousands dead – was later convicted of – used power and went into exile, mostly in Dubai.

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