Former Prime Minister of Thailand was sentenced to five years for corruption

By The Nation

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Thailand's Supreme Court imposed a five-year prison sentence on former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, almost one month after she became a fugitive and the court issued an arrest warrant over charges of criminal negligence.

However, Yingluck fled the country last month, dramatically failing to appear at court for a previous ruling.

Yingluck could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison if found guilty of negligence over a costly rice subsidy scheme that helped to bring her to power in an election in 2011.

Her government was overthrown in a military coup in 2014, and she has said the charges are politically motivated.

It was further added, "Which is a manner of seeking unlawful gains".

The court said that although Shinawatra herself did not profit from it, she did not stop the corruption happening under her watch. "Therefore, the action of the accused is considered negligence of duty". She vanished just as two officials from her administration's commerce agency were sentenced to decades in jail over the rice scheme. Authorities say that this caused the country 8 billion dollars in financial losses.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters before the verdict that he knew where Yingluck was but would not give more details.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, an award-winning columnist writing in the Bangkok Post and numerous foreign publications, is an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University's faculty of political science, and director of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

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