Thai Ex-PM To Stand Trial For Negligence

Former Thailand Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been ordered by a Thailand Supreme Court to stand trial for negligence over a controversial rice subsidy scheme.

If convicted, the ex-PM faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

It is the latest blow to the dominance of the Shinawatra family in Thai politics, after Yingluck was banned from politics for five years.

Her government was overthrown when the military took control of the leadership of the country in a coup in May 2014, after months of protests.

In January, she was retroactively impeached for her role in the rice subsidy scheme by a military-appointed legislature.

Thailand’s attorney general then filed criminal charges against Yingluck in February, accusing her of neglect of duty.

“The panel (of judges) has decided that this case falls within our authority. We accept this case,” said Judge Veeraphol Tangsuwan at the Supreme Court in Bangkok. The hearing would begin May 19.

The controversial scheme paid rice famers in the rural areas – the Shinawatra support base – twice the market rate for their crops, in a programme that cost the government billions of dollars.

Ms Yingluck says she was not involved in the scheme’s day-to-day operations, and has defended it as an attempt to support the rural poor.

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