Mon, Feb 09, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Junta denies Yingluck permission to go abroad

Reuters, BANGKOK

Thailand’s military government has denied former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra permission to travel overseas to ensure that she is in the nation to face criminal charges later this month, a government spokesman said yesterday.

The military toppled the remnants of Yingluck’s embattled government in a coup in May last year, ending months of demonstrations on the streets of Bangkok that had paralyzed her administration.

Yingluck last week was barred from politics for five years and indicted on criminal charges over her involvement in a state rice-buying scheme that cost Thailand billions of US dollars.

The attorney general is to submit a subpoena to the Thai Supreme Court on Thursday next week, and wants Yingluck to be present for that, junta spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said.

Yingluck had asked for permission to leave from yesterday until Feb. 22, he said.

“The suspect must be present for the first process of the case, otherwise the case cannot proceed,” Sunsern said.

Yingluck’s lawyer, Norawit Laleng, said it was not necessary for her to appear in court for at least two months, while prosecutors consider the case and chose judges to oversee it.

“If the NCPO [junta] denies her permission to travel using her court case as an excuse, then it is a violation of her basic rights,” Norawit told reporters.

Thailand has been tense since Yingluck’s impeachment last month.

Two bombs rattled a luxury shopping mall a week ago, and Thai media outlets on Saturday reported that the government had confiscated banners from students ahead of an annual university soccer match.

Yingluck’s supporters say the charges against her are an attempt to limit the political influence of her brother, ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The charges are the latest twist in 10 years of turbulent politics that have pitted Yingluck and her brother against the royalist military establishment that sees the Shinawatras as a threat and reviles their populist policies.

Yingluck could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty by the Supreme Court. She has pledged to fight the charges and her advisers say that she has no intention of fleeing.

“Yingluck is ready to fight. She will not run because we have facts and evidence to fight the case,” Norawit said.

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