Thailand’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, sentenced former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in absentia to five years in prison for negligence over mismanaging a rice subsidy scheme.
The politician was convicted of negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her government’s rice-pledging scheme prior to the 2014 coup.
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruled that Yingluck had acknowledged the illegality of government-to-government rice deals but refused to cancel a contract with a Chinese state enterprise.
The court ruled that the deal involved ill-gotten gains and the dishonest discharge of official duties.
“The defendant was found guilty of the alleged offences under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Organic Act on Counter Corruption 1999 and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment,” a statement from the court read.
The court will issue another arrest warrant against Yingluck, after an initial warrant was issued when she failed to appear before the court on August 25, when the verdict was originally scheduled to be read.
The nine-judge panel started reading the verdict at 11.15am and finished at 3pm.
Yingluck has not attended court hearings, and it is believed that she has been in hiding overseas for a month.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters before the verdict that he knew where Yingluck was but would not give more details.
Yingluck’s elected government was toppled in a 2014 coup.