Thailand lawmakers vote to impeach former PM
Thailand lawmakers vote to impeach former PM

[JURIST] Thailand’s military-appointed legislature on Friday voted to impeach former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra [JURIST news archive], banning her from office for five years for corruption in a scheme to subsidize rice farmers within the country. In addition to the impeachment, Yingluck is also facing up to 10 years in prison [NYT report] on criminal charges of negligence of duty in relation to the alleged scheme. Thailand has been under martial law since May 2014, when the military overthrew the government.

Thailand has faced political instability since the May 22 coup, and the junta has been accused of violating human rights in its attempts to maintain order. Martial law was instituted on May 20, two days before the coup [JURIST report] that ousted the former Thai government and installed General Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC profile] as the country’s new prime minister. Since then, political demonstrations have been banned, and hundreds have been arrested for protesting the junta. A group of Thai human rights activists denounced the country’s state of martial law earlier this week, accusing the ruling military junta of imposing a judicial “twilight zone” [JURIST report]. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] in August that the junta is limiting free expression by prosecuting lese-majeste cases for defamation of the royal family. Independent UN human rights experts also called on [JURIST report] the new government to address its alleged human rights violations in June.