03/19/2015, 00.00
THAILAND
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Bangkok, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to be tried for negligence

The Supreme Court orders the trial for her role in the controversial rice subsidy scheme. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison. The politician denies the charges. For critics it is just the latest in a series of establishment attacks on Shinawatra.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thailand's Supreme Court has indicted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for "negligence", for her role in the controversial subsidy scheme for rice production.

According to prosecutors the program, aimed at buying votes, cost billions of dollars taken from  state coffers; the former prime minister has always strongly rejected any wrongdoing. The first woman to head a government in the Asian country, Yingluck - sister of former prime minister and billionaire Thaksin, in exile to escape a two-year sentence for corruption - could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

According to some analysts, the judges' go-ahead for the indictment is just the latest in a long series of attacks by the judiciary and the government on the Shinawatra empire, which for more than a decade dominated Thai politics, thanks to the large consensus among a substantial part of the population. However, the elite of the capital accuse the family of corruption and have long waged a battle  - in the political and judicial - to eliminate the clan from the public life in the country.

The former prime minister was deposed from office in May following a military coup. The Army's show of force put an end to months of street protests by movements close to the establishment and urban elite: those calling for the resignation of an executive deemed "incompetent and populist."

On January 23, the Parliament voted for the impeachment of the former head of the government and a ban for five years from active politics. This was followed by the opening of a criminal case against Yingluck, for "negligence" and "corruption".

Now the country - at the crossroads in its history, with an issue of succession to the throne - is under the control of the military, with the head of the Armed Forces appointed Prime Minister with the task of reforming the state. However, the Army appear to be ignoring the content of the reform with the risk of a creeping authoritarianism. In fact it was the current prime minister who masterminded and led the bloody repression of 2010, but no member of the armed forces has ever been brought to trial.

 

 

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