Former Thailand PM Is No-Show For Verdict; Court Issues Arrest Warrant

26 August, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Judges to decide ex-PM Yingluck's fate tomorrow

"I want all of you to give me support by staying home and monitoring the news to avoid any risk of an unexpected incident by people with ill-intention against the country and us", she said.

Yingluck is the younger sister of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled Thailand in 2008 while facing a corruption charge.

Yingluck and her supporters believe the case is a politically motivated attack led by junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

But the court said in a statement it did not believe she was sick as there was no medical certificate and that the claimed sickness was not severe enough to prevent her travelling to court.

Thousands of police are deployed outside Thailand's Supreme Court ahead of a verdict expected Friday in the trial of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

When questioned by the press outside the Supreme Court, Yingluck's lawyer said that she remains in Thailand, but when asked about what the next step entails, the lawyer said there was no plan.

Though popular with her rural voter base, opponents said the scheme was too expensive and open to corruption. But Yingluck and her aides have insisted she respects the justice system and would contest her charge to the end.

"I just learned that she did not show up [at court]", he told reporters.

If convicted, Ms Yingluck, the country's first female PM, could be jailed for up to 10 years - although a sentence may be suspended.

Thaksin is a highly polarizing figure, and his overthrow triggered years of upheaval and division that has pitted a poor, rural majority in the north that supports the Shinawatras against royalists, the military and their urban backers.

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Forced out of office by a military coup in May of 2014, she was formally impeached in January of 2015.

When Yingluck Shinawatra was elected prime minister of Thailand in 2011, she was a political neophyte with big ideas.

According to local sources cited by both CNN, Reuters, and the BBC, Yingluck didn't turn up for the reading of the Supreme Court's verdict on Friday morning and has left Thailand, apparently through unofficial channels.

She posted a message on her Facebook page urging followers to stay away, saying she anxious about their safety.

Prawit Pongkunnut, a 55-year-old rice farmer from the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, said he came with 10 other farmers to show solidarity with Yingluck.

The rice subsidy was a flagship policy that helped Yingluck's party win the 2011 general election.

Under the rice subsidy program, Yingluck's administration paid rice farmers up to 50% more than market prices. For example, Yingluck shied away from dealing with the gnawing problem of lese majeste cases, which perpetuated a huge negative impact on human rights and political debate.

Yingluck already has been held responsible for about $1 billion of the losses in an administrative ruling that froze her bank accounts.

Since the coup, Yingluck has been attacked by her enemies through several court cases.

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