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Thaksin Shinawatra Granted Bail in High-Profile Lese-Majeste and Computer Crimes Case

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Thaksin Shinawatra found himself surrounded by a sea of supporters as he made his entrance at the Pheu Thai Party headquarters in March 2024. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Criminal Court has made a notable move by releasing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on bail set at 500,000 baht. This follows his arraignment on charges related to lese-majeste and violations of the Computer Crimes Act, stemming from remarks he made during a 2015 interview. Thaksin reported to public prosecutors early Tuesday morning before being escorted to the Criminal Court for his official arraignment, as confirmed by the Office of the Attorney-General’s spokesperson.

Justice spokesman Prayut Phetcharakhun detailed that the court formally accepted the case at precisely 8:56 AM, thereby recognizing Thaksin as a defendant. Last month’s end saw the Office of the Attorney-General publicly state its intention to indict Thaksin, who had been out on parole. Although the initial date for the indictment was set earlier, it had to be postponed to Tuesday, June 18, due to Thaksin’s reported bout with Covid-19.

At 74, Thaksin stands accused of bringing disrepute to the monarchy during an interview with the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo on May 21, 2015. In that controversial interview, he alleged that privy councillors had supported the 2014 coup, which unseated his sister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government. This claim struck a chord, triggering the original complaint lodged by Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, who, at the time, served as the deputy defense minister in Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s military government.

Gen Udomdej directed the Judge Advocate General’s Department to initiate legal proceedings against Thaksin, resulting in the Office of the Attorney-General filing a lawsuit. The Criminal Court agreed to proceed with the trial back in 2015 and issued an arrest warrant for Thaksin, who had since remained abroad, only making his return to Thailand in August of the previous year.

Police have asserted that Thaksin’s statements during the interview constituted a breach of Section 112 of the Criminal Code—commonly known as the lese-majeste law—as well as the Computer Crimes Act. Earlier, the spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General revealed that Attorney-General Amnat Chetcharoenrak had opted to indict Thaksin on all proposed charges as recommended by the police. The computer crime accusation involves Thaksin inputting data into a computer system in a way that posed a perceived threat to national security.

Despite the serious allegations, Thaksin maintains his innocence. If the Criminal Court were to deny him bail following this indictment, he could potentially face pre-trial detention. Under the lese-majeste law, each royal insult is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, outlining a grim potential path ahead for the former Prime Minister.


  1. Patty M. June 18, 2024

    I can’t believe Thaksin got bail for something as serious as lese-majeste. The law is there for a reason, and bending it like this sets a dangerous precedent.

    • JohnD June 18, 2024

      Maybe it’s because they know the charges are politically motivated. Thaksin has always been a target of the military and the elites.

      • Sarah W. June 18, 2024

        While the charges could be motivated by politics, lese-majeste is still a very real offense in Thailand. It’s not something to be taken lightly.

    • TommyT June 18, 2024

      Justice is supposed to be blind, but in cases like this, it’s more like selectively blind. If it were any other person, they’d be behind bars already.

  2. Nina June 18, 2024

    Honestly, the lese-majeste law itself needs to be reformed. It’s used too often to silence political dissent and criticism.

    • Fred K. June 18, 2024

      Totally agree! It’s an archaic law that has no place in a modern democracy.

      • bluebird99 June 18, 2024

        But reforming it could destabilize the country. The monarchy is an integral part of Thai identity.

    • Maxwell June 18, 2024

      If we don’t reform these laws, we’ll never progress as a society. Freedom of speech is essential.

      • Nina June 18, 2024

        That’s exactly my point. How can Thailand advance if we keep punishing people for speaking their mind?

      • VedaLyn June 18, 2024

        Freedom of speech is important, but so is maintaining respect for national institutions that have stood the test of time.

  3. marinelife June 18, 2024

    Thaksin has always been a polarizing figure. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny his impact on Thai politics.

  4. Krit S. June 18, 2024

    Does anyone else feel like this whole case is a distraction from bigger issues? What about the economic crises we are facing?

    • JenA June 18, 2024

      That’s a good point. The timing of these charges always seems a bit too convenient.

    • David L. June 18, 2024

      Yes, the country has bigger fish to fry. But we also can’t ignore accusations of undermining the monarchy.

  5. Max June 18, 2024

    I find it hypocritical that people who are loud about justice are quiet when it comes to accusations against Thaksin. Is he above the law?

  6. Lee K. June 18, 2024

    He should face the music like any other citizen. Bail or no bail, these are serious charges we’re talking about.

    • Ying P. June 18, 2024

      Agreed, but make sure the music he’s facing isn’t just a political tune sung by his enemies.

    • Lee K. June 18, 2024

      Absolutely, a fair trial is a must. But he shouldn’t get special treatment either.

  7. AsiaLover June 18, 2024

    I’m an outsider looking in, but the lese-majeste law seems like it severely limits free speech. What’s the general public opinion on it in Thailand?

    • Sakda June 18, 2024

      It’s a mix. Some people see it as essential for respect, others see it as oppressive. Depends on who you ask.

    • Wila B. June 18, 2024

      Public opinion is divided for sure. Many younger people are calling for reform, while the older generation tends to support it.

  8. TheWatcher June 18, 2024

    Do the courts really have any power here, or are they just doing the military’s bidding?

    • Patty M. June 18, 2024

      Good question. There have been too many instances of judicial decisions aligning suspiciously with the military’s interests.

  9. SunnyDays June 18, 2024

    Regardless of how you feel about Thaksin, a fair and transparent trial is the only way to resolve these charges.

  10. Jim Beam June 18, 2024

    Fair trial in Thailand? That’s a joke. The system is rigged from top to bottom.

    • Meena June 18, 2024

      That kind of cynicism won’t help us move forward. We need to work towards reform rather than just criticize.

    • Jim Beam June 18, 2024

      Easier said than done, Meena. Corruption is deeply rooted in the system.

    • SunnyDays June 18, 2024

      I agree with Meena, change doesn’t come from cynicism. It comes from actionable steps for reform.

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