In a swift turn of events, Thailand’s ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was transferred from prison to a hospital within hours of his return from a 15-year-long exile. This move comes as he began serving an eight-year sentence stemming from multiple criminal convictions made in his absence, which he contended were politically driven.
Immediate Transfer Due to Health Concerns:
Shinawatra’s return to his homeland was followed by his immediate incarceration. However, on his first night in jail, he was relocated to a hospital due to serious apprehensions about his heart condition and elevated blood pressure. The Corrections Department, in an official statement, revealed that the former leader complained of chest tightness and high blood pressure around 2 AM on Wednesday. To avert potential life-threatening risks, doctors at the prison’s hospital recommended his transfer.
Health Issues and Prison’s Inadequacy:
Citing Shinawatra’s age, chronic heart and lung ailments, high blood pressure, and back problems, the Corrections Department had already acknowledged his vulnerability. A dearth of medical professionals and equipment capable of managing his health concerns compelled his shift to a medical facility outside of the prison’s confines. Assistant National Police Chief Lieutenant General Prachuab Wongsuk confirmed the situation, emphasizing the prison’s incapability to provide adequate care.
Dramatic Return and Legal Verdict:
The former premier’s return on Tuesday was marked by celebratory scenes orchestrated by his supporters. His arrival in Bangkok aboard a private jet and subsequent transfer to prison garnered extensive media coverage. Concurrently, his political ally Srettha Thavisin secured the prime ministerial position through a parliamentary vote. The Supreme Court’s confirmation of Shinawatra’s eight-year prison term for charges involving abuse of power and conflicts of interest further intensified the unfolding events.
Speculation Surrounding Return and Political Dynamics:
Speculation is rife that Shinawatra’s seamless return and Srettha’s ascendancy may signify a potential understanding between the influential businessman-politician and his adversaries within the military and political establishment. This conjecture extends to the prospect of an early release from incarceration. However, both Shinawatra and his political party Pheu Thai have vehemently denied such claims. Pheu Thai has, notably, formed a coalition with other parties supporting the military, while excluding the progressive Move Forward party, which emerged as the top vote-getter.
Anticipated Royal Endorsement:
As per Thai media reports, Mr. Srettha is anticipated to receive a royal endorsement for the prime ministerial position on the following Wednesday.