Jailed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will continue receiving treatment at Police General Hospital under an extension approved by the Department of Corrections chief after a 60-day out-of-prison period expired on Saturday.
The recommendation by director-general Sahakarn Phetnarin was based on a medical opinion, according to a statement released by the department’s public relations officials on Saturday evening.
It said the department had received a report from the Bangkok Remand Prison that doctors had concluded it was necessary for Thaksin to remain in Police General Hospital.
Details of his treatment could not be disclosed, in keeping with the patient’s right to privacy and medical ethics, said the statement.
Thaksin, 74, is known to have high blood pressure as well as heart and respiratory problems and other ailments associated with old age. He had surgery last month for an unspecified condition, his daughter Paetongtarn said.
The department director-general’s approval, the medical opinion and related evidence have been submitted to the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Justice, who must give final approval to the extension.
Under the regulations governing inmate transfers to outside hospitals, any stay longer than 30 days must be approved by the director-general of the Department of Corrections. That approval was granted on Sept 22.
If the treatment lasts more than 60 days, approval by the permanent secretary for Justice is needed. Approval by the justice minister is required if treatment lasts more than 120 days.
National police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol said earlier on Saturday that a medical opinion would be sent to the Department of Corrections to decide whether the patient would be transferred back to a prison or not. It was not up to the Office of the Royal Thai Police to decide, he said.
On Tuesday, the police chief ordered the Police General Hospitalto on the treatment provided for Thaksin.
The move came after a photo was circulatedshowing Thaksin on a gurney wearing a patient’s gown and face mask, heading for computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. He was reportedly returned to his room on the 14th floor of the hospital immediately after the scans.
The photo, which went viral on social media, sparked criticism about special privileges and treatment Thaksin might be receiving.
Earlier, a group calling itself the Network of Students and People Reforming Thailand called on the Ministry of Justice to stop giving special privileges to Thaksin.
Thaksin returned to the country on Aug 22 after more than 15 years of self-exile abroad. He was immediately sentenced to eight years in prison in three cases — later reduced to one year under a royal pardon — for abuse of authority and conflict of interest while serving as premier prior to 2006
He was admitted to Police General Hospital on the night of Aug 22, 13 hours after he first entered prison, and he has been staying there ever since. The Royal Thai Police and the Department of Corrections have denied giving the convict any privileged treatment.