Two scenarios possible should ex-PM Yingluck return home: analyst


BANGKOK: After years of living as a fugitive abroad, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (pic) could soon return to Thailand just as her brother, former PM Thaksin, has done, political analyst and law professor Thanaporn Sriyakul said on Monday (April 15).

The issue of Yingluck’s return has drawn public attention after Thaksin said on Sunday that he missed Yingluck and hoped she would be in Chiang Mai with him next year.

Thaksin, who returned from self-imposed exile on Aug 22, 2023 and is currently on parole, was visiting his home province of Chiang Mai over the Songkran holiday.

Observers expect Yingluck to follow her brother’s example now that she has been cleared on two cases and only faces conviction and imprisonment in one case.

In 2017, Yingluck was sentenced in absentia to five years in jail for failing to stop the fake, corruption-plagued government-to-government rice deal under her administration’s rice-pledging scheme.

In December last year, Yingluck was acquitted by the Supreme Court of malfeasance in her 2011 transfer of the National Security Council’s secretary-general.

Last month, she was acquitted by the Supreme Court again of malfeasance and collusion over the awarding of a 240-million-baht PR campaign.

Thanaporn on Monday mapped out two scenarios that would facilitate Yingluck’s return. The first is for the Pheu Thai-led government coalition to pass the amnesty act, forgiving Yingluck of any offences committed during her term.

However, he said, that this approach is less likely to happen as Yingluck’s case has to do with corruption and is not political, unlike that of her brother who was ousted by the 2006 military coup.

“Passing the amnesty act for Yingluck will only benefit her and not other political fugitives and prisoners from past political clashes, and could be seen as a personal favour,” he said.

The second approach, according to Thanaporn, is to amend the Justice Ministry’s correctional regulations for political prisoners, allowing Yingluck to apply for royal commutation upon her arrival in Thailand.

“Amending the regulations requires no approval from the Parliament and is therefore easier to do,” he said.

Thanaporn added the new regulations may also help 56-year-old Yingluck bypass the current rule that prisoners aged over 60 can apply to serve the rest of their sentence at their residence, a privilege 74-year-old Thaksin received.

After Thaksin returned to Thailand last year, he was supposed to serve his eight-year sentence immediately but was sent from the prison to the Police Hospital on his very first night. His eight-year term was commuted by royal clemency to just one year, and after “being treated” in hospital for six months, he became eligible for parole. - The Nation/ANN

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