Former Thai PM Yingluck Sentenced To Five Years

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who fled the country last month, has been found guilty of dereliction of duty over a controversial rice subsidy scheme. She has been sentenced to five years in prison in absentia.

Recall that Yingluck failed to appear on August 25 as hundreds of her supporters waited outside Thailand’s Supreme Court for the scheduled verdict.

At the time, a highly-placed source in Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party said she had fled Thailand just before the hearing and was “safe and sound” in Dubai. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

Yingluck had faced up to 10 years in prison for her role in the rice-buying scheme, introduced in 2011, which pledged to pay farmers well above the market rate for their crops. Critics say the program wasted large amounts of public funds trying to please rural voters, hurting exports and leaving the government with huge stockpiles of rice it couldn’t sell.
Yingluck said the subsidy scheme was “beneficial for the farmers and the country” and claims it lost billions of dollars were wrong and motivated by political bias against her.

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