Thailand set to indict former PM Thaksin over royal insult

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

© APA | Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

# 29 May 2024 14:21 (UTC +04:00)

Thailand's attorney-general will indict former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for allegedly insulting the monarchy, an official said on Wednesday, in a setback to a political heavyweight whose loyalists are currently in government, APA reports citing Reuters.

The complaint, lodged by the royalist military that ousted the government of his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, had stemmed from an interview the influential tycoon gave to foreign media in 2015. Other charges include violating a computer crime law.

"The attorney-general has decided to indict Thaksin on all charges," spokesperson Prayuth Bejraguna said, adding he must appear in court on June 18.

Thaksin, 74, denies wrongdoing and has repeatedly pledged loyalty to the crown, criticism of which is forbidden under Thailand's lese-majeste law, one of the world's strictest of its kind.

Thaksin would be the highest-profile case among more than 270 prosecutions in recent years under the controversial law, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years for each perceived insult of the royal family.

Thaksin did not appear at Wednesday's hearing, having been infected with COVID-19.

His lawyer, Winyat Chartmontri, said a comprehensive defence had been prepared and Thaksin would seek bail. He questioned the authenticity of the video of the interview in which the alleged insult was made.

"Thaksin Shinawatra is ready to prove his innocence in the justice system," Winyat told a press conference.

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