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Thaksin Shinawatra Faces Lese Majeste Charges: Protesters Demand No Bail

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Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, center, was recently seen enjoying dinner in Chiang Mai with the current Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, left, and former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, his brother-in-law. This casual dinner snapshot is making waves, especially since Thaksin finds himself in hot water again. (Supplied photo)

Protest groups, fueled with determination, have boldly approached the army, urging them to oppose a bail request anticipated from the paroled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. As Thaksin prepares to face prosecutors next week to acknowledge charges related to lese majeste and computer crimes, these groups, notably the Network of Students and People Reforming Thailand and Thai People Protecting the Monarchy, won’t let it slide quietly.

The protesters made their way to army headquarters on Tuesday, petition in hand, echoing their message to stall Thaksin’s bail. They are rallying against his request when he meets prosecutors to formally acknowledge his indictment under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, famously known as the lese majeste law, on June 18. The roots of this charge dig back to a 2015 interview he gave to a South Korean newspaper, where he allegedly made disparaging remarks about the monarchy while reflecting on the NCPO coup that booted out Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration on May 22, 2014.

Thaksin has staunchly denied these accusations, arguing that his interview comments were twisted to frame him. Standing in the forefront, protest leader Pichit Chaimongkol voiced concerns that Thaksin might tamper with evidence if granted bail, adding that he poses a flight risk. Pichit referenced Thaksin’s infamous escape from Thailand in 2008, just before the Supreme Court condemned him for leveraging his position to help his then-wife, Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, procure prime land at a generous discount.

Yet, the drama unfolds as Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong clarified that the army is not the official investigating body and, thus, has no grounds to interfere with this case. Echoing this sentiment, Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang emphasized that Thaksin’s lese majeste charge, orchestrated by the coup-engineer NCPO, is beyond the army’s purview, despite using military administrative channels to pave the legal path.

“We must allow justice to take its course, and let the charges be contested in a court of law,” stated the minister, reinforcing the need for due process. This judicial journey began when the attorney-general charged Thaksin with lese majeste and computer crime offenses for his 2015 remarks. Prayut Phetcharakhun, a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney-General, highlighted that the computer crime charge revolves around Thaksin purportedly introducing information into a computer system deemed threatening to national security.

Complicating the proceedings, prosecutors could not arraign Thaksin on May 29 as planned, due to his alleged Covid-19 contraction, adding yet another layer to this already intricate tale. As events unfurl, all eyes remain fixated on the upcoming days and the legal destinies they hold for Thailand’s once unflinching leader.


  1. Grower134 June 11, 2024

    Thaksin deserves no leniency. He repeatedly broke the law and disrespected the monarchy. No bail should be granted.

    • Mia L June 11, 2024

      I agree! Thaksin’s history shows he’s a flight risk. Let’s not repeat past mistakes.

      • Dr. Anderson June 11, 2024

        While I understand the concerns, denying bail without concrete evidence of current wrongdoing compromises the judicial process.

    • Korrapin June 11, 2024

      Grower134, your comment ignores the fact that the charges might be politically motivated. Shouldn’t there be a fair trial first?

      • Grower134 June 11, 2024

        Even if they’re politically motivated, his past actions can’t be overlooked. He’s manipulated the system before.

  2. Tony June 11, 2024

    This is all a political witch-hunt. Thaksin’s charges from 2015 are just being dug up to silence him.

    • Linda M June 11, 2024

      Exactly, Tony! It’s a tactic to prevent him from gaining any political influence again.

      • Jittra June 11, 2024

        Linda, but don’t you think it’s more complicated? He did evade the country, after all.

  3. Somchai C June 11, 2024

    Why is no one talking about the double standards here? So many others have done worse without consequences.

    • Nivadh June 11, 2024

      Somchai, corruption is rampant. Singling out Thaksin while ignoring others is hypocritical.

      • Somchai C June 11, 2024

        Nivadh, that’s what I’m saying! We need to demand equal treatment for everyone.

      • Dr. Anderson June 11, 2024

        Nivadh, it’s about setting precedents. Each case should be judged on its own merit, not based on others’ impunity.

  4. Qiara16 June 11, 2024

    We shouldn’t be excusing Thaksin just because others haven’t faced consequences. The law is the law.

    • Sunny June 11, 2024

      Qiara, but selectively enforcing the law is dangerous. That’s not justice.

      • Qiara16 June 11, 2024

        Sunny, let’s fight for enforcement across the board rather than making exceptions for anyone.

      • Tammy K June 11, 2024

        Qiara16, agreed. Fair enforcement is key for true justice.

  5. Pichai June 11, 2024

    Supporting Thaksin is supporting corruption. Do you want that kind of leadership back?

    • Suda June 11, 2024

      Pichai, what about the good he did for the economy? It’s not black and white.

      • Pichai June 11, 2024

        Suda, the economy doesn’t justify illegal actions. We shouldn’t overlook his wrongdoings.

      • Jrnlo June 11, 2024

        Pichai is right, but we must balance justice with fairness. Past deeds shouldn’t cloud our judgment.

  6. Thiti42 June 11, 2024

    Thaksin may have done some good, but fleeing from the charges is an admission of guilt in my book.

    • Nat G June 11, 2024

      Thiti42, sometimes fleeing is the only way to escape a rigged system.

  7. Jessica P June 11, 2024

    Even if the army doesn’t have grounds to interfere, their presence adds unnecessary tension.

    • Farah June 11, 2024

      Absolutely, Jessica! The army should stay out of judicial matters.

  8. Pranee June 11, 2024

    Thai politics is always a mess. Why do they keep digging up old controversies?

    • Keng R June 11, 2024

      It’s because these old controversies are never truly resolved, and they keep affecting current politics.

  9. Richard T June 11, 2024

    Whether you like Thaksin or not, he deserves a fair trial. That’s fundamental.

  10. Suvit June 11, 2024

    Meeting with the current prime minister adds suspicion. Is he still pulling strings?

  11. Anna Lee June 11, 2024

    I doubt Thaksin can get a fair trial with the kind of media frenzy surrounding this case.

  12. Thanin June 11, 2024

    Regardless of what happens, this case is a major test for Thailand’s legal system.

  13. Jessica P June 11, 2024

    While justice must be served, we must also strive for fairness. Public opinion shouldn’t dictate legal outcomes.

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