Ex-Thai PM Thaksin indicted on charge of royal defamation
   Date :19-Jun-2024
Ex Thai PM Thaksin 
FORMER Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was granted release on bail hours after he was formally indicted on Tuesday on a charge of defaming the country’s monarchy in one of several court cases that have rattled Thai politics. Thaksin, an influential political figure despite being ousted from power 18 years ago, reported himself to prosecutors Tuesday morning and was indicted, Prayuth Bejraguna, a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, said at a news conference. A car believed to be carrying Thaksin arrived at the Criminal Court in Bangkok but he did not come out to meet reporters. His lawyer Winyat Chatmontree told reporters that Thaksin was ready to enter the judicial process. The same car left the court a few hours later after Thaksin was granted bail, though again he did not meet with waiting reporters.
A few hours later, the Criminal Court said Thaksin’s bail release was approved with a bond worth 500,000 baht (USD 13,000) under a condition that he cannot travel out of Thailand unless he receives permission from the court. A court statement issued later listed several reasons for allowing bail, including Thaksin’s age, his having a permanent address in Thailand and the lack of an objection from the prosecutor. It added that his passport was confiscated. The law on defaming the monarchy, an offence known as lese majeste, is punishable by three to 15 years in prison. It is among the harshest such laws globally and increasingly has been used in Thailand to punish Government critics. Thaksin, now 74, was ousted by an army coup in 2006 that set off years of deep political polarisation. His opponents, who were generally staunch royalists, had accused him of corruption, abuse of power and disrespecting then-King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016.
He was originally charged with lese majeste in 2016 for remarks he made a year earlier to journalists in South Korea. The case was not pursued at that time because he went into exile in 2008 to avoid punishment from other legal judgements he decried as political. He voluntarily returned to Thailand last year and was immediately taken into custody for convictions related to corruption and abuse of power, but served virtually all of his sentence in a hospital rather than prison on medical grounds. He was granted release on parole in February