Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra Sentenced to 5 Year Jail

The Supreme Court of Thailand on Wednesday found ex-premier Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of negligence in the implementation of the state program on the purchase of rice by the agricultural producers and sentenced her to five years in prison.

The decision on the “rice business” of Shinawatra was to be made on August 25, but the day before the politician secretly left the country and, allegedly, disappeared into the UAE. The Supreme Court issued a warrant a month ago for her arrest in connection with non-attendance at the meeting.

On Wednesday about a hundred supporters of Shinawatra gathered in the court building, who consider her innocent. The lawyers of the ex-prime minister also came to court, one of whom told journalists that he had “had no contact with Shinawatra for more than a month.”

The first woman prime minister in the history of Thai politics was accused of negligence in the implementation of the state program for the purchase of rice from the peasants. According to the prosecution, from 2011 to 2014, the state suffered damage amounting to 518 billion baht ($ 14.8 billion), as the government bought rice from farmers at prices significantly higher than market prices and assumed obligations for its sale for export.

Due to the decline in the rice prices, it was extremely difficult to fulfil the promises. Thailand lost the status of world leader in rice exports, and state warehouses were overstocked. In addition, the program revealed cases of corruption and fraud. Shinawatra has repeatedly stated that she considers herself innocent, and the case is politically motivated.