Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra Indicted for Alleged Royal Insult, Bail Granted

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a prominent supporter of the current government, has been formally charged on Tuesday for purportedly insulting the monarchy in a media interview from 2015, as confirmed by a spokesperson for the attorney-general’s office.

This marks the commencement of one of four significant legal cases involving key political figures being addressed in court, potentially ushering in a new period of uncertainty for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

These cases involve influential politicians in Thailand, including the current prime minister, and have the potential to deepen longstanding divisions between the conservative-royalist establishment and their adversaries, such as the populist ruling Pheu Thai party and the opposition Move Forward party.

Thaksin has refuted any allegations of misconduct and could be subject to pre-trial detention if bail is refused by a criminal court subsequent to his indictment. In a separate development, the Constitutional Court will convene to address a case filed by a group of senators which might result in Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s removal from office for violating regulations by appointing a cabinet member with a criminal record.

*Update: The court later allowed Thaksin on bail.

Additionally, the Constitutional Court will review a case aiming to dissolve the popular opposition Move Forward Party over their advocacy to amend the nation’s laws regarding insults to the monarchy, following a complaint from the Election Commission. Verdict dates or information on next hearings for the Srettha and Move Forward cases are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Furthermore, the Constitutional Court will make a ruling on the legality of the ongoing selection process for a new upper house, which commenced earlier this month and is scheduled to conclude in early July.