Thai court finds Yingluck guilty, hands down 5-year jail sentence

A Thai court Wednesday sentenced ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in absentia to five years in prison for alleged negligence in a money-losing rice subsidy programme.

"The court found that the defendant is guilty as charged. the court has sentenced her to 5 years in prison and the court also unanimously agreed that the sentence will not be suspended", a judge said.

The military seized power from Yingluck's government in a May 2014 coup citing the need to restore order and normalcy.

Shinawatra, who pleaded not guilty to the charges that carried a 10-year maximum, is believed to have fled the country.

Yingluck was found to have had knowledge of the corruption after she removed a former commerce minister after questions arose about rice dealings with Chinese enterprises.

Thai court sentences ex-PM Yingluck in absentia to 5 years in jail
Thailand's ex-PM Yingluck sentenced in absentia to 5 years

On August 25, the top court of Thailand had issued an arrest warrant against her after she failed to appear in court for the verdict.

The Supreme Court said in a statement, "The accused knew that the government-to-government rice contract was unlawful but did not prevent it".

"Which is a manner of seeking unlawful gains". Authorities say that this caused the country 8 billion dollars in financial losses.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, said the Puea Thai Party was now "rudderless".

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said yesterday he would reveal Yingluck's whereabouts once the verdict was announced, The Bangkok Post reported.


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