Thai court finds Yingluck guilty, hands down 5-year jail sentence

Thai court sentences ex-PM Yingluck in absentia to 5 years in jail

Former Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra allegedly found guilty of dereliction of duty over a controversial rice subsidy scheme and sentenced to five years imprisonment in absentia.

Whether Yingluck is found guilty and sentenced to up to ten years in prison, found guilty and given a suspended sentence, or even acquitted, the conduct of Thai political life will never be quite the same again.

Her government was ousted by the military in 2014.

Yingluck became prime minister in 2011.

Yingluck did not show up at the court and has so far not made any public comment on the verdict.

In the scheme, Yingluck's government paid Thai rice farmers inflated prices for their crops, driving up global rice prices. "I have spies", he said, adding that to his knowledge Ms Yingluck has not sought asylum overseas.

Her lawyer said she was ill with an ear problem and could not appear in court. Authorities say the programme caused the country $8bn (£5.97bn) in financial losses, Al Jazeera reports.

The trail ran over two years, with a ruling initially scheduled for late August.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said yesterday he would reveal Yingluck's whereabouts once the verdict was announced, The Bangkok Post reported. Even if a poll is eventually held, it will be organised under a new junta-drafted charter that significantly curbs the power of elected politicians and enshrines the military's oversight of any future government for the next 20 years.

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