Thai Court to Hear Criminal Case Against Former Premier Yingluck

The public prosecutor announcing that the Supreme Court has accepted the case against Yingluck, 18 March 2015.

BANGKOK (DPA) — The criminal case against Thai former premier Yingluck Shinawatra will be heard in the Supreme Court in May, the court said Thursday.

Yingluck is indicted for her alleged role in a corruption-plagued rice price subsidy scheme, and could face up to 10 years in jail for failing to prevent the loss of billions of dollars.

The trial will open at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Person Holding Political Positions on May 19, a nine-judge panel ruled Thursday.

Yingluck, who was overthrown in May in a coup led by current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, has denied any wrong-doing in the scheme to help the country's impoverished rice farmers.


She has described the case as politically motivated and said she will face trial rather than fleeing abroad to avoid prosecution.

Her elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was also overthrown in a coup, in 2006, fled the country to avoid a two-year jail sentence for abuse of power in the sale of Bangkok real estate.

In July, the National Anti-Corruption Commission found Yingluck guilty of negligence for failing to stop the rice subsidy program even after government losses had grown to an estimated 500 billion baht (15.2 billion dollars).

The finding led to her impeachment in January, banning her from politics for five years, and to her indictment in February, starting the current criminal trial.


The rice scheme was popular in the north-eastern provinces, which remain the main political stronghold of Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party.

But it was plagued by persistent corruption and allegations of incompetence, with thousands of tons of unsold rice left to rot in storage facilities.