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Thaksin to face trial for royal insult

Thaksin to face trial for royal insult

Thailand’s attorney-general will indict former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for allegedly insulting the monarchy, an official announced . This development marks a significant setback for the political heavyweight whose loyalists are currently in government.

The complaint, filed by the royalist military that overthrew the government of his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, stems from an interview the influential tycoon gave to foreign media in 2015. Other charges against him include violating a computer crime law.

“The attorney-general has decided to indict Thaksin on all charges,” spokesperson Prayuth Bejraguna stated, adding that the former premier is required to appear before court on June 18.

Thaksin, 74, denies any wrongdoing and has consistently pledged his loyalty to the crown. Criticism of the monarchy is forbidden under Thailand’s lese-majeste law, one of the strictest in the world, which imposes a maximum jail term of 15 years for each perceived insult to the royal family.

Thaksin’s case is the highest-profile among over 270 prosecutions in recent years under this controversial law. His lawyer, Winyat Chartmontri, indicated that a comprehensive defense had been prepared and that his client would seek bail. He also questioned the authenticity of the video containing the alleged insult. Thaksin did not appear at Wednesday’s hearing due to a COVID-19 infection, his lawyer said.

“We have to proceed based on our rights in a criminal case,” Winyat stated at a press conference. “Thaksin Shinawatra is ready to prove his innocence in the justice system.”

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