Thailand ex-PM flees country ahead of verdict: reports

Thailand ex-PM flees country ahead of verdict: reports

Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] failed to appear in court to hear the verdict in her trial Friday, amid reports that she had fled the country to Dubai [CNN report].

Yingluck was facing corruption charges involving mismanagement of a rice-subsidy program, estimated to have cost the government billions of dollars. She pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2015 and went on trial [JURIST reports] last year.

A warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to appear in court Friday. She had been barred from leaving the country since 2015 and faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Thailand’s political system has been unstable since the 2006 military coup [BBC report] by the Royal Thai Army against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], brother of Yingluck. Yingluck herself was removed from office in May 2014 shortly before the military seized control [JURIST reports] of the government.