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Thai Supreme Court clears ex-PM Yingluck in negligence case, says lawyer

Ousted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

BANGKOK, March 4 — Thailand’s Supreme Court cleared self-exiled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of negligence today, her lawyer and local media said, in a case dating back to her time in office in 2013.

Yingluck, a prominent member of the influential Shinawatra family, has been living overseas for the past six years to avoid jail for a previous conviction for negligence handed down after her government’s ousting in a 2014 military coup.

The court’s unanimous decision is the latest favourable outcome for the dominant Shinawatra family, whose party Pheu Thai is currently in government. Its billionaire figurehead, Thaksin Shinawatra, was recently released from detention on parole on a commuted sentence.

The court had yet to issue a statement on the ruling.

Yingluck is sister of former premier Thaksin, who was recently freed six months into an eight-year jail sentence that was commuted to a year and was served in hospital detention.

Today’s case stemmed from a 2022 complaint from the National Anti-Corruption Commission against Yingluck and four others, accusing them of damaging the country by not following bidding processes in the awarding of a government contract worth 250 million baht (US$6.71 million).

Lawyer Noppadon Laothong told Reuters that the court dropped the case against Yingluck and others because they were carrying out their duties in accordance with the law and received no benefits.

Yingluck had been convicted in absentia previously for negligence and sentenced to five years in prison sentence over a government rice pledging scheme that cost billions of dollars of losses to the state.

Brother Thaksin made a dramatic return to Thailand in August after spending 15 years in abroad to escape jail for abuse of power and corruption.

His return and favourable detention has sparked widespread speculation that the powerful tycoon has made a secret political deal with his longtime enemies in Thailand’s military and conservative establishment.

The Shinawatra families allies have denied that.

Source: Malay Mail

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