Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra granted ฿500,000 bail on lèse-majesté and computer crime charges. Court date is set for August 19th to examine evidence in the case involving two charges.

Former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra was granted bail on Tuesday after being arraigned before the court on criminal charges. It included a lèse-majesté charge and an alleged offence under the 2007 Computer Crime Act. The court granted bail in the amount of ฿500,000, which was promptly paid in. At the same time, it set August 19th next as a date for examination of the evidence in the case.

Thaksin Shinawatra on his arrival back from Dubai on August 22nd 2023. (Inset) Mr Thaksin with his legal team after Tuesday morning’s hearing. (Source: Khaosod)

On Tuesday, the Criminal Court in Bangkok released former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on bail. It came following his arraignment earlier in the morning on lèse-majesté and computer crime charges before the court.

Previously, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), Mr Prayut Phetkhun, confirmed the order by the Attorney General to prosecute the former PM.

Bail of ฿500,000 paid into court as ex-PM Thaksin is arraigned on a lèse-majesté charge and a 2007 Computer Crime Act offence linked with national security

He faces charges under the Criminal Code Sections 83 and 112. The latter is the provision which deems any actions or expression against the monarchy to be a serious criminal offence.

The former is an offence under the 2007 Computer Crime Act. In brief, inputting information into a computer system which may be a threat to national security.

In addition, the court set a date for August 19th to examine the evidence in the case. Bail was set with a security of ฿500,000 to be lodged in court. It is reported that the amount was lodged by Mr Thaksin in cash.

Before the hearing at Ratchada Criminal Court, Mr Thaksin was seen arriving at the building in a black Mercedes.

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Later, Mr Prayut of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) confirmed the court accepted the case at 08:56 am.

Bombshell surprise on August 22nd after Thaksin stepped off the plane at Don Mueang Airport. The charge was addressed by him in January while in hospital

The lèse-majesté charge came as a complete surprise to Mr Thaksin on August 22nd, 2023, when he arrived home from Dubai. At that time it was even described as a misunderstanding or a result of confused paperwork,

In short, it related to an interview given to the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo in 2015. In the course of the exchange with the South Korean daily newspaper, Thaksin spoke about the 2014 coup d’état. 

He is alleged to have suggested that certain privy councillors supported the ouster of the democratically elected government.

That government had originally come to power after the Pheu Thai Party achieved a landslide in the 2011 General Election. It was led by Thaksin’s younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Ms Yingluck is still living abroad in exile and has been convicted and sentenced by the courts in absentia.

Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that the court had accepted the case before it. Prosecution by military authorities

On Tuesday, Mr Prayut said that the case was accepted as black case number 1860/2567.

The background to the case is an order by General Udomdej Sitabutr, the deputy defence minister under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

In short, this was the military junta regime which ruled from 2014 to 2019. The order came after the May 2015 piece was published.

General Udomdej ordered the Judge Advocate General’s Department to take legal action against the former PM. The case was prosecuted by military authorities under the military regime. 

Subsequently, a court in the same year issued an arrest warrant for Mr Thaksin. In turn, this was executed at Don Mueang Airport last August as Thaksin arrived back in Thailand.

Thaksin tried to have the charges dropped

In January, while serving his prison sentence at the Police General Hospital in Bangkok, Mr Thaksin petitioned the Attorney General for fair treatment in the matter.

However, at the end of May, Amnat Chotcharoenrak decided to proceed with the indictment and prosecution.

There was some trepidation over Thaksin’s fate on Tuesday. This was linked to his previous flight from the country in 2008 in defiance of bail conditions.

The case was closely watched by both his ardent supporters and fierce critics in Thailand.

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