Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra from Exile to Prison, to Hospital

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thailand’s thaksin shinawatra from exile to prison, to hospital

Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was moved to hospital overnight following complaints of tightness in the chest and high blood pressure, just hours after he was arrested and jailed when he landed at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport Tuesday. 

Shinawatra made his homecoming on Tuesday after 15 years in self-imposed exile. Before being swept away in a police convoy to the Supreme Court, the 74-year-old paid his respects to the King. The Supreme Court swiftly sentenced Shinawatra to eight years in jail

The Department of Corrections said the founder of the populist Pheu Thai party was transferred to hospital at 1am during his first night in prison. “Due to lack of proper medical equipment, the doctor believed that there could be a risk to life. They agreed to transfer the patient to the Police Hospital, which is better equipped.” 

Shinawatra was earlier held in a medical ward of Bangkok remand prison and was being closely monitored. Officials said he was in the “vulnerable category” of prisoners. Moreover, a medical checkup on Tuesday established that he had heart and lung problems, high blood pressure and spine problems. The Thai Royal Police, in an official statement, said a prison doctor examined Shinawatra and urgently had him transferred to the hospital. The former PM is eligible to apply for a royal pardon during his first day in jail. Sources believe medical reasons could get him out – greater leniency. 

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Meanwhile, thousands of Shinawatra supporters took to the roads on Tuesday to celebrate their leader’s homecoming. Local media reports say he had struck a deal with his opposition in the military and political establishment for his safe return. 

In September 2006, Shinawatra was toppled when the Thai military seized power; at that time he was in the United States preparing to address the United Nations. He was accused of human rights abuses, violent conflict in Thailand, and a drugs war. Shinawatra was also convicted of abuse of power. 

However, Shinawatra is recognized as Thailand’s most popular leaders and politicians, as well as for his populist policies like the universal healthcare scheme.

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