Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Saturday defended the Corrections Department which came under fire for allegedly giving special privileges to jailed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Speaking before departing for Phitsanulok, Mr Srettha said he had seen a much-talked about photo of the former PM and insisted all the inmates were being treated equally by the department.
Mr Srettha was referring to the photo circulating on social media on Friday which showed someone resembling Thaksin wearing a patient gown and face mask on a gurney.
Two individuals by his side resembled his daughters.
Sahakan Phetnarin, director-general of the department, on Saturday confirmed the man in the photo was Thaksin, who was being transferred from his hospital room to undergo a CT scan and an MRI.
Citing a report from the Bangkok Remand Prison chief, he said Thaksin was taken for the CT scan and the MRI which took about an hour. The examination was ordered by his doctors.
Mr Sahakan said Thaksin was safe, but declined to give details about Thaksin’s condition, citing confidentiality.
Thaksin, 74, returned to Thailand on Aug 22 after 15 years in self-exile. On the same day, the Supreme Court ordered he be imprisoned for eight years for three cases.
However, he was sent from the Bangkok Remand Prison that night to the Police General Hospital for health reasons and he has stayed there since.
After seeking a royal pardon, his eight-year jail term was then cut to one year by His Majesty the King.
Mr Sahakan said Thaksin’s family was allowed to visit him so that they were aware of the medical treatment he received.
However, he said Thaksin’s doctors had yet to inform the department if Thaksin’s stay at the Police General Hospital would be extended or he would be transferred back.
He said Thaksin’s doctors would have to inform the department of their opinions because Thaksin’s extended stay would be completed on Oct 22.
Another extended stay would have to be reported to the justice permanent secretary.
He added that in case Thaksin requires a stay of more than 120 days for medical care and treatment, the matter would be reported to the justice minister.
Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew on Saturdaydenied any knowledge about Thaksin’s medical treatment but said he believed the authorities were following the rules.