Thailand’s ex-PM Thaksin leaves hospital after six months in detention


Thaksin returned to Thailand in August after nearly 16 years of self-imposed exile.

Thailand’s jailed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has left the hospital where he spent six months in detention following his return to the kingdom after more than 15 years of self-imposed exile.

Thaksin, wearing a neck brace and a surgical mask, was seen in a vehicle leaving the Police General Hospital in central Bangkok early on Sunday.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said earlier this week that Thaksin, who was jailed for eight years on corruption charges before a royal pardon reduced his sentence to one year, would be released on parole.

Thaksin, a towering yet divisive presence in Thai politics for more than two decades, led Thailand between 2001 and 2006 when his government was toppled in a military coup.

After convictions for abuse of power and other offences while in office, Thaksin spent nearly 16 years in self-imposed exile overseas before returning home in August to cheering crowds to serve his sentence.

Thaksin’s parole draws a line under a bitter decades-long rivalry between his populist movement and the country’s conservative establishment.

Thaksin’s populist platform appealed to rural Thais who had long felt neglected by the country’s ruling elites.

The former telecoms tycoon was also accused of serious human rights abuses amid a violent conflict in the country’s mostly Muslim southern provinces and a “drugs war”, which killed thousands.

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