Paetongtarn denies repatriation of Yingluck underway after court win

BANGKOK: Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra (pic) has expressed hope that her aunt, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, will soon be able to return home but denied repatriation attempts had begun.

Paetongtarn on Tuesday (March 5) revealed she had called Yingluck to congratulate her after a court cleared the ex-premier of malfeasance in handling funds for a 2013 government project on Monday.

Amid rising speculation over Yingluck’s possible return, Paetongtarn said she hoped her aunt would be back from exile soon but they had not discussed the issue.

Asked if Yingluck would be granted parole like her brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, Paetongtarn said she was unaware of Department of Corrections' parole criteria but hoped it would be a “smooth” homecoming.

Yingluck still faces five years in jail after being sentenced in absentia in 2017 for negligence in implementing her government’s rice subsidy programme.

“Yingluck said that if she can return, she would help me look after my kids,” Paetongtarn said.

Earlier, Senator Somchai Swangkarn insisted that Yingluck would have to serve five years in prison over the contentious rice scheme, as parole is only granted in cases of sickness or infirmity.

In December, Yingluck was cleared of malfeasance for transferring Thawil Pliensri from his post as National Security Council secretary-general in 2011.

Monday’s ruling came three weeks after Thaksin was released on parole having served just six months of a commuted eight-year corruption sentence following his return home from 17 years in exile.

Thaksin, 74, was detained in a hospital for six months before being granted clemency because of his age and ill health. The governments of both Thaksin and Yingluck were ousted in military coups.

Asked about Thaksin’s health, Paetongtarn said he was showing signs of recovery and might visit his hometown of Chiang Mai and also meet with Pheu Thai MPs at party headquarters soon. Thaksin is considered the patriarch of Pheu Thai.

Following his surprise arrival in August last year, Thaksin was taken to the Police General Hospital and did not spend a single day behind bars.

His sentence was then cut from eight years to just one thanks to a royal pardon.

The sequence of events prompted rumours Thaksin had received preferential treatment following a secret deal between the Pheu Thai-led government and the conservative elite.

Following parole release, he moved to his family’s Chan Song La mansion in Bangkok, where he was recently visited by former Cambodian leader Hun Sen. Paetongtarn is set to pay a return visit to Hun Sen in Cambodia on March 18-19. - The Nation/ANN

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Thailand , Yingluck , Paetongtarn


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