Thai court sentences ex-PM to 5 years in jail

Thai court sentences ex-PM to 5 years in jail

Thailand's Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday to sentence former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra - in absentia - to five years in prison.

Her government was ousted by the military in 2014. Yingluck was not present in the court, and is believed to have fled the country in August.

The verdict was due on August 25 but was postponed after the former premier failed to show for her court date and was later found to have escaped overseas. Analysts say Yingluck probably cut a deal to leave Thailand with the military leaders bent on scrubbing her clan from politics, according to Channel News Asia.

It was further added, "Which is a manner of seeking unlawful gains".

Her lawyer said she was ill with an ear problem and could not appear in court. "Therefore, the action of the accused is considered negligence of duty", it said.

While there was no suspension of the term, Yingluck was not hit with the maximum sentence of 10 years and a 20,000 baht ($601) fine.

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

Commenting on Yingluck's whereabout, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said Yesterday he has information about her whereabout but would not disclose until after the verdict is read today.

Ms Yingluck is thought to be in Dubai where her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, lives in self-imposed exile avoiding a 2008 sentence for corruption. The military seized power.

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