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Jailed former Thai PM Thaksin granted parole

BANGKOK — Thailand's billionaire former premier Thaksin Shinawatra has been granted parole, according to local media reports, citing Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong.

Thaksin, who is serving a one-year sentence is being treated at a police hospital. He was on a list of 930 prisoners who were considered elderly or ill and approved for parole, according to media reports. Under Thai law, he could be released after serving six months of his sentence on Feb 18.

The justice ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

Despite getting parole, the former leader could still be detained as public prosecutors consider charging him for insulting the monarchy during a 2015 interview.

In August, Thaksin, one of Thailand's best known political figures, made a dramatic homecoming after living abroad for 15 years in self-exile to avoid prison.

His return coincided with ally and political newcomer Srettha Thavisin being chosen as prime minister on the same day.

On his first night in prison, Thaksin, 74, was moved to a police hospital because he was experiencing tightness in the chest and high blood pressure.

He is serving a commuted one-year sentence in hospital where authorities say his health must be closely monitored.

Convicted Thai ex-PM Thaksin facing possible royal insults charge