Bangkok, Aug 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court of Thailand on Friday issued an arrest warrant against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she failed to appear for a verdict in her trial over a rice subsidy scheme.
As thousands of supporters gathered near the court in Laksi district, the judges rejected her explanation she had Meniere’s disease and was suffering from vertigo, after her lawyer failed to present a medical certificate, reports The Bangkok Post.
The court also ordered the seizure of her 30 million baht ($900,360) bail bond.
On Thursday, Yingluck told her supporters via Facebook to stay at home on Friday and not go to the court.
Reports said she was last seen in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions was set to announce its ruling on Yingluck, who faces trial for dereliction of duty in failing to halt her government’s loss-ridden,corruption-plagued rice-pledging scheme, despite being warned repeatedly to do so.
The scheme, introduced in 2011, pledged to pay farmers well above the market rate for their crop, and ended up costing the country billions.
Yingluck said the rice subsidy scheme was “beneficial for the farmers and the country” and that claims it lost money were wrong and motivated by political bias against her.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a fine of 200,000 baht ($6,000).
The court has scheduled the hearing for September 27
Police estimated about 3,000 of the former leader’s supporters showed up near the Supreme Court on Friday morning.
When she was inaugurated in 2011, Yingluck became Thailand’s first female Prime Minister and its youngest in over 60 years.
The sister of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck was ousted by a coup in 2014 and was later impeached by Thailand’s military-appointed National Legislative Assembly.
The ruling barred her from political office for five years.
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