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Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been indicted for royal defamation arising from an interview he gave to a South Korean newspaper in 2015.

The Office of Attorney-General (OAG) on Wednesday (29 May) announced that it had issued an order to indict the former PM under the royal defamation law and the Computer Crime Act over his 2015 interview concerning the monarchy given to the South Korean newspaper Chosun IIbo, according to MatichonDailynews and ThaiPBS.

OAG spokesperson Prayut Bejraguna told reporters that the OAG received a complaint filed by the Technology Crime Suppression Division in 2016. At the time, Thaksin did not appear and the OAG decided to indict him as charged and issued an arrest warrant. The statute of limitations in this case is 15 years.

After Thaksin returned from self-imposed exile, the OAG and police informed Thaksin of the charges earlier this year. He denied all charges and requested fair treatment since he had no opportunity to gather evidence for this case while he was in exile. The OAG accordingly ordered a further investigation as requested and decided to indict the former PM.

However, the prosecutor could not file the charges to the court today (29 May) because Thaksin was not able to attend. His lawyer submitted a medical certificate showing that Thaksin had a COVID-19 infection. The indictment hearing was rescheduled for 18 June.

After returning from exile, Thaksin was detained for six months in connection with three other criminal cases before he was released and granted a royal pardon in recognition of his service as Prime Minister and loyalty to the monarchy. His eight-year sentence was also commuted to one year because he respected the judicial process and accepted his sentence, as well as because of his old age and need for medical care. The former PM is currently residing at the Shinawatra family residence. 

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