Ex-Thai leader sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison

Ex-Thai leader sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison

Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced in absentia today to five years in prison for criminal negligence in a trial brought by the junta that overthrew her. He was a co-founder and deputy leader of the Thai Rak Thai party and served at various times as justice minister, the energy minister, and minister in the prime minister's office under Thaksin.

Thawip added that there is no indication of any violence or unrest on Wednesday. Yingluck is accused of negligence that led to a multi-billion baht loss in a rice mortgage policy that was a key policy of her administration.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, said the Puea Thai Party was now "rudderless". Acquitting Yingluck risked alienating people who took part in protest movements in late 2013 and early 2014 which seized government buildings and disrupted snap elections and set the stage for the military coup. He is living in self-imposed exile to avoid serving a prison term from a 2008 conviction on a conflict of interest charge.

But the former premier was a no-show, having pulled a dramatic Houdini act one month earlier when she slipped out of the kingdom ahead of the scheduled verdict.

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Neither Yingluck or Thaksin commented publicly immediately after the verdict.

Her whereabouts remain a mystery since her failure to appear at a similar court proceeding last month.

None of the photos features Yingluck. Where is now Shinawatra, is unknown.

Thai authorities investigating how Yingluck escaped said last week they have questioned three police officers who admitted to helping her.

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