Yingluck gets 5 years in jail

Source:AFP Published: 2017/9/27 23:03:40

Corruption charges called a witch hunt by defense


Norrawit Larlaeng (C), lawyer of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, is interviewed by the press at Thailand's Supreme Court in Bangkok, capital of Thailand on Sept. 27, 2017. Thailand's Supreme Court on Wednesday found former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of malfeasance in a loss-ridden rice subsidy program and sentenced her in absentia to five years in jail. (Xinhua/Li Mangmang)


 
Thailand's top court on Wednesday sentenced ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra in absentia to five years in prison for criminal negligence, a verdict that likely ends the political career of a popular leader who fled the junta-run kingdom last month.

Yingluck's administration was ­toppled in a 2014 coup and she was later put on trial for failing to stop corruption and losses in her government's rice subsidy scheme, which the court said cost the country ­billions of dollars.

She pleaded innocent and accused the ruling junta of a political witch hunt.

But the Supreme Court in Bangkok deemed her guilty, saying she failed to stop graft and losses in the rice program.

"The court has sentenced her to five years in prison and the court also unanimously agreed that the sentence will not be suspended," a judge said.

The verdict, which makes Yingluck's return to the kingdom ­increasingly unlikely, said the leader was aware of corrupt deals made by members of her administration but did nothing to stop them.

She "should have designated reasonable and effective regulations that could concretely prevent loss from the beginning of the program," the verdict said, adding that the policy cost Thailand nearly $10 billion in losses.

After attending dozens of hearings in a trial that lasted more than one year, Yingluck failed to turn up for a ruling originally scheduled for August 25 - a day of high drama that left the kingdom dumbfounded. 

The 50-year-old, who still has the right to appeal, has not appeared in public since pulling the vanishing act.

Her once active social media accounts have also gone silent.

But there are widespread reports she joined her billionaire brother Thaksin, a former prime minister ousted in a 2006 coup, in Dubai.

Thaksin has kept a home in the city since he too fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid jail for a corruption conviction.

The Shinawatra siblings lie at the center of a political battle that has gnawed at Thailand for more than a decade.

The clan first emerged on the political scene in 2001 when Thaksin took office and secured the loyalty of the rural poor with ground-breaking welfare schemes.

Shinawatra-backed parties have dominated electoral politics ever since, inflaming Bangkok's military-allied elite.

Unable to beat the Shinawatras at the polls, their rivals have turned to court rulings and coups to repeatedly knock their governments from power.

Repeated rounds of rival protests have ensued, often spilling into bloodshed.

Supporters gather at Thailand's Supreme Court in Bangkok, capital of Thailand on Sept. 27, 2017. Thailand's Supreme Court on Wednesday found former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of malfeasance in a loss-ridden rice subsidy program and sentenced her in absentia to five years in jail. (Xinhua/Li Mangmang)


 

A supporter holding a fan with portraits of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is seen at Thailand's Supreme Court in Bangkok, capital of Thailand on Sept. 27, 2017. Thailand's Supreme Court on Wednesday found former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of malfeasance in a loss-ridden rice subsidy program and sentenced her in absentia to five years in jail. (Xinhua/Li Mangmang)


 


Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC,WORLD FOCUS

blog comments powered by Disqus