Former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom arrives at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for People in Political Positions in Bangkok in October 2017 to hear his conviction for corrupt rice transactions. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Former Constitutional Court judge Jaran Pukditanakul joined on Monday criticism of reduced prison sentences for inmates in corruption cases, saying it could pave the way for exploitation and further corruption .
He said the matter presents a challenge to the justice system in which vast resources are spent to prove guilt and must be dealt with by the prime minister.
He noted that inmates convicted in a major corruption case were eligible for sentence reductions four times in less than 16 months – from August 15, 2020 to December 6.
“It sends the wrong signal that no matter how serious the offense is, there is this loophole,” he said.
Mr Jaran said conditions were set for inmates jailed for drug-related offenses to receive a reduced prison sentence, so stricter criteria should be set for those jailed for corruption that causes damage and suffering. much more important in the country than narcotics. He suggested that a petition be filed with the Constitutional Court, via the Ombudsman’s Office, asking the court to decide whether an amnesty decree violates the charter.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday that the government would review regulations and related laws regarding reduced prison terms following outcry over reduced prison terms for convicts in major corruption cases.
His decision came as the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT) issued a statement opposing such sentence reductions after it was revealed that inmates in the pledging case rice were among those who received a royal grace to mark His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Bigâs birthday.
Two detainees who would have benefited from this royal pardon were the former Minister of Commerce Boonsong Teriyapirom and his deputy Poom Sarapol. Boonsong, who was sentenced to 48 years in prison by the Supreme Court, will see his prison term reduced to 10 years and eight months. He will be released in April 2028.
Poom was sentenced to 36 years in prison by the Supreme Court. He will see his prison sentence reduced to 5 years in prison. It will be released in August 2025.
General Prayut said he had studied the matter and agreed that all related regulations and laws should be reviewed if certain criteria were found to be inappropriate.