Former PM Thaksin Released on Bail in Royal Defamation Case

The Criminal Court on Tuesday approved bail for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra following his plea of innocence regarding a 2015 charge of defaming King Rama IX.

Thaksin, aged 74, was granted bail with a bond set at 500,000 baht and was instructed not to leave the country without judicial permission.

The court decided to grant bail, citing Thaksin’s age, his permanent residence with his family, and the absence of evidence suggesting he might flee or tamper with the case. The public prosecutors did not contest the bail decision.

At his arraignment at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, Thaksin denied all charges of lese majeste and computer crime.

These charges originate from an interview he gave to Chosun Media in Seoul on May 20, 2015. It is alleged that his associates subsequently posted the interview on YouTube and Facebook on May 21 and 22.

During the interview, he accused the Privy Council, the monarch’s advisory group, of backing the 2014 coup that ousted his sister Yingluck’s administration.

The lawsuit claims the interview misled viewers into believing that Thaksin implicated King Rama IX and suggested that the Palace had orchestrated the coup, aiming to provoke protests throughout Bangkok and the nation.

Thaksin is nearing the end of his parole following an early release from a year-long sentence for abuse of power as Prime Minister, which concludes on August 31. Public prosecutors have requested that any subsequent term of imprisonment, if he is convicted, begin from this date.

After granting bail, the court scheduled a session for August 19, where the defense and prosecution will have the opportunity to cross-examine each other’s witnesses and scrutinize the evidence.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, leader of the Pheu Thai Party, shared a picture of her father Thaksin on Instagram on Tuesday morning with the caption, “Sending love to our beloved grandfather.”

Under the lese majeste law, or Article 112 of the Criminal Code, anyone found guilty can face up to 15 years in prison for each count.