The daughter of former Thai leader Thaksin said she was feeling overwhelmed as criticism of her hospitalization mounted
BANGKOK (AFP) – Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is stressed and exhausted but in good spirits, his daughter said Tuesday, as criticism mounted that he had been taken to hospital just hours after serving an eight-year prison sentence.
Thaksin, who was overthrown in a 2006 military coup, returned to Thailand last week after 15 years of self-imposed exile and was immediately sent to prison over several criminal convictions he described as politically motivated.
Prison officials said Thaksin, 74, was considered weak because of his age and chronic heart and lung problems, high blood pressure and back problems. Thaksin, a former police lieutenant colonel, is being treated in a private room at the Police General Hospital, where the director said he was in serious condition due to heart and lung problems.
There is growing criticism that Thaksin receives special treatment compared to other prisoners, including not having to get prison-style haircuts. His rapid transfer to hospital has prompted calls for proof that he is really ill. A group of activists aligned with the Conservatives went to the hospital last week, demanding that they release information about his condition and treatment.
“My father was happy to see me, very happy. He is tense and tired but in good spirits,” Baetungtarn Shinawatra told reporters at the headquarters of the populist Pheu Thai Party, of which she is a key member. The Pheu Thai party is the latest in a series of Thaksin-affiliated parties established after He was removed from power and his party dissolved.
Paytungtarn said after visiting her father in the hospital that he had suffered complications after contracting the coronavirus in 2020 and that she was very concerned about his heart condition.
Hours after Thaksin’s return to Thailand, Pheu Thai’s candidate Sritha Thavisin won enough votes in parliament to become prime minister, ending more than three months of uncertainty after the national election.
To achieve a majority, the party formed a coalition with pro-military parties linked to the coup that ousted the Phu Thai government of Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, from power in 2014. The party also excluded the Forward Progress Party, which won the election. Most of the votes in the elections from the coalition.
It is widely believed that the divisive former leader has returned in the hope that a friendly government will commute his sentence, and that he may have struck a deal with the authorities, although Thaksin said his decision had nothing to do with Pheu Thai’s bid to leave. power. The outgoing government said Thaksin could ask for a royal pardon like any other prisoner.
Baytungtarn said her father will decide when to ask for forgiveness.
When asked about the controversy surrounding his hospitalization, Bytungtarn only replied that she was concerned about his illness. She said the duration of his stay is up to the medical staff.
Thaksin’s return from exile was an emotional moment for supporters of the billionaire who won the loyalty of millions with his populist policies that funneled attention and finances to the largely poor, rural north of the country before he was ousted in a military coup. Its re-emergence reminds us of years of pitched battles – symbolic and sometimes literal – between “red shirts” and opponents of “yellow shirts” defending conservative values and monarchies.
Associated Press video journalist Jerry Harmer contributed to this report.