Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Court jails ousted Thai PM Yingluck five years for negligence



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 programme .

“ 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 programme , ” 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.

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