Family members of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra leave after visiting him at the Police Hospital, in Bangkok, Thailand, 28 August 2023. EFE-EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

Thai ex-PM Thaksin’s daughter defends his hospitalization after arrest

Bangkok, Aug 29 (EFE).- The daughter of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been hospitalized in police custody, said on Tuesday that he was fatigued and stressed, amid criticism over the supposed favorable treatment meted out to the detainee.

The hospital building where former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was transferred, at Police General Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, 28 August 2023. EFE-EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, a leader of the Pheu Thai party, said that the bad health of his 79-year-old father was linked to the lung damage he suffered after contracting Covid-19 during the pandemic.

Talking to reporters, she added that the family had not sought a royal pardon for the former leader, as the latter had insisted on drafting the petition himself.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on Aug. 22 after 15 years in exile, and was transferred to the Bangkok Remand prison hours after his arrival to serve an eight-year prison term pending against him on several cases of corruption and abuse of power, for which he was convicted in his absence.

However, the prison department announced on the same day that the ex-PM had been admitted to the prison hospital due to several complaints, while by midnight he had been transferred to the Bangkok Police Hospital, where he is currently placed in a private room.

Thaksin suffers from several chronic ailments such as heart disease, pressure in the chest, hypoxemia and hypertension, and the authorities said he was transferred as a precautionary measure as the prison did not possess adequate medical equipment for his treatment.

Several activists have alleged that Thaksin is receiving favorable treatment by the authorities at a time when Pheu Thai has returned to power in alliance with pro-military parties.

Activist Srisuwan Janya said that Thaksin had seemed to be well in Dubai while in exile, and asked ironically if the former prime minister had fallen “politically ill” upon his return.

Thaksin, a millionaire businessman who enjoys widespread support in rural areas due to his social policies, ruled Thailand between 2001 and 2006, when he was ousted in a coup and later sentenced in several cases as part of what he claims to be political persecution.

His return to Thailand last week coincided with Pheu Thai candidate Srettha Thavisin being elected prime minister, even as the party – which had again been ousted from power in 2014 – continues to be controlled by the Shinawatra clan.

Pheu Thai, which won the second highest number of votes in the May election, had at first allied with the winning party Move Forward, a progressive group that had fought the elections on a pro-democracy and anti military plank.

However, Move Forward was blocked from forming the government by the Senate, handpicked by the former military junta (2014-2021).

Subsequently Pheu Thai formed another coalition with pro-military parties, an unusual alliance that has caused unease among many voters who had been seeking a pro-democratic shift in national politics. EFE