Yingluck sentenced in absentia to five years in jail

Supporters of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in front of the Supreme Court yesterday expressing their love for the ousted leader. The court found her guilty of negligence over her government's rice subsidy scheme, which is said to hav
Supporters of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in front of the Supreme Court yesterday expressing their love for the ousted leader. The court found her guilty of negligence over her government's rice subsidy scheme, which is said to have cost billions of dollars.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Thailand's top court has sentenced ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra to five years in prison for criminal negligence, a verdict read in absentia after she fled the kingdom last month.

Yingluck's administration was toppled in a 2014 coup and she was later put on trial for negligence over her government's rice subsidy scheme, which is said to have cost billions of dollars.

The Supreme Court in Bangkok deemed her guilty yesterday, saying she failed to stop corruption and losses in the rice programme. "The court found that the defendant is guilty as charged... 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 makes Yingluck's return to the kingdom increasingly unlikely. After attending dozens of hearings in a trial that lasted over a year, she failed to turn up for a ruling originally scheduled for Aug 25.

Yingluck, 50, has not made any public appearance or comments since vanishing. But there are widespread reports that she has joined her billionaire brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister ousted in a 2006 coup, in Dubai.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEE TOP OF THE NEWS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'Yingluck sentenced in absentia to five years in jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe