By Thai Newsroom Reporters
FORMER JUSTICE MINISTER Somsak Thepsuthin today (Mar.31) categorically denied he had looked to provide privileges for a self-exiled Thaksin Shinawatra who earlier offered to put himself behind bars upon his planned homecoming.
Somsak, leader of Sam Mit Group of former MPs who has recently hopped over from the Palang Pracharath to the Pheu Thai where Thaksin is invariably viewed as de facto party boss, was responding to comments earlier made by Thanaporn Sriyakul, head of Kasetsart University’s Political Science Association, that the deposed prime minister might practically not be put in jail to serve a combined 10-year term due to a few convicted misconduct lawsuits and might probably instead be provided a hospital or nursing home to stay after he has returned home from 16 years in self-exile abroad.
Thanaporn remarked that Somsak had been warmly welcomed back to the Pheu Thai by the party’s rank and file due to his having quietly done huge favours for Thaksin with such legal leniency allegedly prepared for the de facto party boss.
According to the Kasetsart academic, existing regulations of the Corrections Department, a government agency attached to of the Ministry of Justice, have the leniency for inmates to the extent that they be provided a certain place to stay outside of a prison such as a hospital or nursing home after they may have served a specific period of time behind bars.
Thaksin has earlier told Kyodo News in Tokyo that he has planned to put himself behind bars upon his planned homecoming so that, he said, he could spend the rest of his life with his grandchildren and other family members after he has served his time in jail.
The deposed prime minister who has been living in self-exile overseas following the 2006 coup stopped short of saying how soon within this year he will come back after he had said so for over a dozen times since last year.
Nevertheless, Somsak contended that Thanaporn had misinterpreted the department’s regulations which, he said, had been drafted a few years before he assumed his justice portfolio in 2019 and finally passed approval from the cabinet in 2020.
Such regulations only provide leniency for inmates who may have already served many years or been sentenced to a short period of time or gotten ill by relocating them from a prison to a hospital or nursing home, Somsak said.
According to the former justice minister, the de facto Pheu Thai boss will not fit in any category of inmate to deserve the leniency as allegedly misunderstood by the Kasetsart academic.
Top: Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, left, and former justice minister Somsak Thepsuthin, right. Composite photo made from images by Thai Rath
Front Page: Justice minister Somsak Thepsuthin talking to the press. Photo: Thai Rath