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Thailand’s state prosecutors said on Tuesday they were reopening an investigation into former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s alleged violation of a strict royal insult law, just weeks before he was expected to be released after serving a sentence for corruption, the Associated Press reported.

Thaksin was charged with criticizing the royal family in 2016 following remarks he had made about the Thai monarchy to journalists in Seoul, South Korea, the year before. However, since he was in self-imposed exile, the case was paused until he could respond to the charges.

The billionaire became prime minister in 2001, running on a populist agenda, and his popularity reportedly came to overshadow that of the royal family. He left the country in 2008 following his ousting in a military coup two years earlier.

He voluntarily returned last August and because of ill health began serving an eight-year sentence for corruption and abuse of power in a Bangkok police hospital. There, police served him notice of the royal defamation charges on Jan. 17. Thaksin faces up to 15 years in prison under Article 112 of the criminal code, one of the world’s strictest laws on lèse-majesté.

After King Maha Vajiralongkorn reduced his sentence to 12 months last year, Thaksin became eligible for parole and was widely expected to be freed later this month. That’s in doubt after the prosecutors’ announcement.

His return had coincided with a parliamentary deal with lawmakers linked to the royalist military that made his daughter’s Pheu Thai party – the successor to his own political movement – the leading force in Thailand’s government following last year’s general election.

The winning party, Move Forward, was forced into opposition after Pheu Thai canceled their pre-electoral alliance. The left-leaning Move Forward Party ran on an anti-establishment platform and proposed amendments to Article 112.

Still, Thailand’s Constitutional Court last week ruled that the proposal violated the constitution and was a move toward the “destruction of the democratic system of governance with the king as the head of state,” Reuters reported.

Though the verdict included no punishment for Move Forward, it set a precedent for future reviews of Article 112 and could lead to calls from royalists to dissolve the party.

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