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Lese-majeste charges: Thai court grants ex-Premier Shinawatra bail, bars him from traveling abroad

Lese-majeste charges: Thai court grants ex-Premier Shinawatra bail, bars him from traveling abroad

 
- Constitutional Court adjourns hearing on petition filed by acting senators, accusing Prime Minister Thavisin of violating constitution by appointing convicted lawyer as minister, until July 10
 

By Islamuddin Sajid

ANKARA (AA) - Thailand's Criminal Court on Tuesday granted bail to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but ordered him to surrender his passport after formally indicting him on charges of lese-majeste and violating the Computer Crime Act.

The court agreed to release Thaksin on remand on a Thai Baht 500,000 (about $13,590) bail bond, on the ground that he is elderly, has denied the charges, was granted bail during the investigation, and lives permanently with his family, broadcaster Thai PBS reported.

The public prosecutor did not object to the granting of bail.

However, the court seized Thaksin's passport to prevent him from leaving the country without a court order to ensure he would not try to flee or tamper with evidence and witnesses, or obstruct the legal process, the broadcaster said.

Shinawatra was charged with lese-majeste in 2016 by former Attorney General Pongniwat Yuthapanboripan for his press interview in 2015 in Seoul during Thaksin’s self-exile.

He returned to his home country in August of last year, but his illness kept him hospitalized.

However, Thaksin denied the charge and told reporters that he would defend himself, referring to the prosecution as the "toxic fruit" of a military coup, according to the broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on a petition filed by a group of acting senators, accusing Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of violating the constitution by appointing a convicted lawyer as a minister, until July 10.

Srettha, who is currently on COVID-19 sick leave, may lose his premiership if the court rules in favor of the petitioners, the broadcaster reported.

In another case, the same court adjourned the hearing to disband the Move Forward Party until July 3, after it was accused of attempting to amend the lese-majeste law.

The country's electoral authority had asked the court to dissolve the party because it attempted to amend the lese-majeste law, which the court previously ruled was an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy system.

The Election Commission also requested the court to bar the party executive committee members from participating in politics or registering new parties for 10 years.

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