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Former Thai Prime Minister released on parole after 15 years of exile and 6 months of detention


BANGKOK: Thailandthe billionaire former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was released on speech Sunday after six months in detention, his first day of freedom in his native country, 15 years after fleeing following its overthrow by a military coup.
Thailand’s best-known and most polarizing prime minister, the influential Thaksin dominated politics during years spent mostly in self-imposed exile to escape prison for abuse of power. Accusations, he says, were concocted by the country’s old guard to keep him at bay. .
The 74-year-old tycoon, whose family party returned to power, was granted parole despite not spending a single night in prison for a sentence that was commuted in August from eight years to one year by the king of the country.
For health reasons, Thaksin was incarcerated in a luxury wing of a hospital, from where he left the country unusually discreetly before dawn on Sunday, slipping away in a convoy of vehicles with tinted windows pursued by a phalanx of media that had gathered together.
Wearing a checked shirt, a protective mask and his arm in a sling, Thaksin was photographed in the vehicle alongside his youngest daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra, leader of the ruling Pheu Thai party, and arrived at his Bangkok residence 25 minutes later.


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