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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 10:51 AM | 19-02-2015

Ex-Thai PM Yingluck charged with negligence

Thailand’s attorney general filed charges against deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday (19 Feb 2015), in a case that could result in a 10-year jail term if she is found guilty.

Yingluck, Thailand’s first woman prime minister, was charged with negligence for her role in a rice subsidy scheme that has cost the state billions of dollars. She denies wrongdoing.

The Supreme Court would decide by March 19 whether or not to pursue the case, court secretary Theerathai Charoenwong said, according to Reuters.

Yingluck was forced from office in May 2014 over a separate legal challenge days before her government was ousted in a military coup. The coup ended months of protests organized by supporters of the establishment opposed to her government’s populist policies including the rice subsidy.

The coup-installed government denied Yingluck permission to travel to Hong Kong this month to ensure she was in the country to face charges.

Yingluck is the younger sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecommunications tycoon who shook up the political system with policies favoring the rural poor when he became prime minister for the first time in 2001.

Reuters said the charges against Yingluck represent the latest stage in a 10-year struggle between Thaksin, who was overthrown in a 2006 coup and has lived abroad since 2008 to avoid jail for a graft conviction he says was politically motivated, and the royalist-military establishment.

He or his allies, including Yingluck, have won every election since 2001, to the dismay of the establishment which sees him as a threat, added Reuters.

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