Thai court dismisses Yingluck's lawsuit

Ousted Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra (center) arrives at a criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept 29, 2015.
Ousted Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra (center) arrives at a criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept 29, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Former PM claimed prosecutors mishandled case involving controversial rice scheme

BANGKOK • Thailand's Criminal Court yesterday rejected a lawsuit by former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra against Attorney-General Trakul Winitnaiyapak and three other prosecutors for allegedly mishandling a case against her, the Bangkok Post newspaper said.

The court ruled that their actions in the rice-pledging case against her were lawful.

Ms Yingluck, who was prime minister for three years until last year, filed the suit last month, in which she accused the government's top prosecutor and the others of mishandling the case and failing to perform their legal duties.

The three others named in the suit were prosecutors Chutichai Sakhakorn, Surasak Treerattrakul and Kittinan Thatpramuk.

Ms Yingluck claimed that the attorney-general and the other prosecutors failed to properly examine all evidence and witnesses to clarify contentious points against her, the Bangkok Post said. These included allegations of corruption and dereliction of duty.

Mr Trakul had also included some 60,000 pages of documents that were not present in previous investigations of Ms Yingluck, which she charged was illegal.

Ms Yingluck, 48, faces up to 10 years' jail if she is found guilty of negligence in an ongoing trial at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions over the now defunct rice-pledging scheme.

Thailand's first female prime minister was elected in 2011 on the back of policy pledges popular with its upcountry supporters, the centrepiece of which was the rice-pledging scheme.

Under the programme, the government bought an unlimited amount of rice from farmers at about 50 per cent above the market price. But critics allege that the programme was riddled with corruption and it is estimated to have cost about 500 billion baht (S$20 billion).

Ms Yingluck was ousted from premiership by a court ruling in May last year, shortly before the remnants of her government were toppled by a military coup.

The court yesterday said that Ms Yingluck's accusations were not backed up by solid evidence, but only by extracts from the news media which were unofficial, the Bangkok Post said.

The court also found that the four legal officers had not mishandled their duties and had no intention to persecute the defendant, and ordered the dismissal of Ms Yingluck's lawsuit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2015, with the headline 'Thai court dismisses Yingluck's lawsuit'. Print Edition | Subscribe