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Thailand Sentences Ex PM to 5 Years for Failed Rice Subsidy Program

Thailand Sentences Ex PM to 5 Years for Failed Rice Subsidy Program

Yingluck was convicted by Thailand's Supreme Court Wednesday on charges of negligence in connection with a botched rice-buying scheme and sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

But there are widespread reports she joined her billionaire brother Thaksin, a former prime minister ousted in a 2006 coup, in Dubai. Today, police officer Pol. Col. Chairit Anurit, a deputy commander with Bangkok's Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), came forward to say that he drove the former Thai leader in a Toyota Camry to the border at Srakaeo, a town that borders Cambodia, in Si Saket province, the night before she was to appear in court to face corruption charges related to her rice-pledging scheme, reported Thai PBS.

She maintained her innocence throughout the case, which she said was a political fit-up sculpted by her family's enemies among the arch-royalist army and elite. Yingluck and her brother Thaksin were politicians who polarized Thailand, engendering adoration among their supporters and loathing among their opponents.

Yingluck, 50, had not attended court hearings, fueling rumors that she had fled overseas, like her brother.

Once a fresh arrest warrant is issued, Thai authorities may proceed with extradition efforts, he told reporters.

"I don't know", he replied, when asked by the media whether he trusted the assurance that Yingluck would not have any political movement while in Dubai.

Thaksin has kept a home in the city since he too fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid jail for a corruption conviction.

A supporter holds a picture of of ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra while waiting for the verdict in a negligence trial involving Yingluck at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand, September 27, 2017.

The Shinawatra siblings lie at the centre of a political battle that has chewed at Thailand for more than a decade.

The 2001 rise of Thaksin, a billionaire former cop with a magic touch at the polls, rattled Thailand's establishment and the country has since see-sawed between elected governments and coups.

Thai Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters that the government has been in contact with the United Arab Emirates about Yingluck.

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