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Thailand: Fugitive Yingluck Shinawatra Gets 5-Year Jail Term

A supporter holds a picture of ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck while waiting for the verdict in a negligence trial in Bangkok

BANGKOK (Reuters) — Thailand’s Supreme Court sentenced former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in absentia to five years in prison on Wednesday for mismanaging a rice subsidy scheme that cost the country billions of dollars.

Yingluck fled abroad last month fearing that the military government, set up after a coup in 2014, would seek a harsh sentence.

For more than a decade, Thai politics have been dominated by a power struggle between Thailand’s traditional elite, including the army and affluent Bangkok-based upper classes, and the Shinawatra family, which includes Yingluck’s brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was also ousted by a coup.

Yingluck had faced up to 10 years in prison for negligence over the costly scheme that had helped get her elected in 2011.

Yingluck had pleaded innocent and had accused the military government of political persecution.

Nine judges voted unanimously to find Yingluck guilty in a verdict reading that took four hours, and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

The court said Yingluck knew that members of her administration had falsified government-to-government rice deals but did nothing to stop it.

“The accused knew that the government-to-government rice contract was unlawful but did not prevent it,” the Supreme Court said in a statement … (read more)

via The Japan News

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