08/25/2017, 10.14
THAILAND
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Bangkok, Yingluck Shinawatra fails to attend sentencing. Warrant issued for her arrest

The former premier was accused in 2015 by the military junta over a subsidy plan for rice producers. The Supreme Court postponed the sentencing of the criminal proceedings against her to September 27. If found guilty, the former premier could be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail and banned from politics. Nobody knows where the woman is. The authorities fear the reactions of her supporters.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra did not appear in court for the verdict of the trial that saw her indicted for "negligence" in a controversial rice yield scheme. Her lawyers says she was absent on grounds of poor health.

The Supreme Court issued a custodial sentence for the woman and postponed the sentence of the criminal proceedings against her to 27 September.

Yingluck denied any involvement in the plot that cost Thailand billions of dollars. If found guilty, the former premier could be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail and banned politically.

Today, Yingluck's lawyer asked the referral of the sentence, stating to the Court that the woman was suffering from dizziness and severe headaches and was unable to attend the hearing. Prosecutors opposed the request.

The head of the immigration police believes Yingluck is still in Thailand, while Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has spoken of the possibility that the former prime minister has fled the country. Norrawit Larlaeng, the woman's lawyer, says she does not know where her client is.

In the days before the hearing, the fate of the nation’s first woman presidnet generated great debate and anxiety. The military junta tried to prevent or discourage Yingluck's supporters from going to the Supreme Court in Bangkok for fear of their violent reaction if the former prime minister were convicted and imprisoned.

Yingluck, who became prime minister in 2011, was charged in 2015 by the military junta and impeached. The plan, part of the Yingluck electoral campaign, was launched shortly after her rise to power. It aimed to strengthen farmers' incomes and alleviate rural poverty, and provided for the government to pay almost twice the market value of their crops to farmers. According to the accusers, the program was aimed at buying votes.

 

However, the project struck Thailand's rice exports hard, with a loss of at least $ 8 billion and huge rice stocks that the government could not sell. Although popular with rural constituents, opponents believed the plan was too expensive and open to corruption.

During her trial, Yingluck claimed she was not responsible for the day-to-day management of the scheme. She reiterated that she was a victim of political persecution. Yingluck's brother, controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, lives in exile after having fled the country in 2008 to evade a two-year prison sentence for corruption.

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