Prime Minister Yingluck Criminal Arraignment Announced, ‘Thai Democracy Is Dead’ [Videos]

Prime Minister Yingluck of Thailand was recently impeached under questionable circumstances and could face jail time. It was announced by the Bangkok Post on Sunday, January 25, that, after being impeached on January 22 for involvement in a rice subsidy scandal, the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand will be arraigned on criminal charges.

After her impeachment, the BBC reported that Prime Minister Yingluck was also banned from running for political office for five years. Prime Minister Yingluck will be replaced by military official Prayut Chan-o-cha. Reuters stated that America’s response to the impeachment as the following.

“Washington, a long-time ally of Thailand, expressed dismay at the coup and responded by freezing $4.7 million of security-related aid, as well as canceling high-level engagements and some military exercises and military and police training programs.”

On Twitter, many comments about the case are centered around the fact that the military would be taking the place of Prime Minister Yingluck if she were impeached.

Supporting concerns from Twitter users, there are reports from the Strait Times Asia Report that royalist army elite will now rule Thailand and they state Prime Minister Yingluck “was impeached by a legislative assembly handpicked by the military regime… Some in her circle say the regime may also go after her assets as it seeks to bury her as a political threat.”

The reasons behind the charges against Prime Minister Yingluck are that she allowed the rice purchase program to become negligent by over-paying Thai rice farmers and did nothing to clean up the scandal. In the press, this scandal was loosely termed as corruption charges against Prime Minister Yingluck because a fair verdict and investigation has yet to be published.

The Strait Times Asia Report explains the backstory of how Prime Minister Yingluck was involved in the rice scandals as follows.

“Critics have bashed the scheme, saying it was Puea Thai’s way of bartering billions of baht from the treasury in return for votes. It is estimated to have cost more than 500 billion baht (S$20.65 billion) and left the government with a huge stockpile of rice, estimated at 17.7 million tonnes, that cannot be sold except at a crushing loss. Many farmers were paid for the grain, but many were also not paid for months, pointing to mismanagement and leading to talk of corruption.”

In response, Prime Minister Yingluck says she was proud to stand behind the program and felt bad that the famers would be returning to a live of debt and poverty now that the program was forced to end.

Regardless of her struggle against the scandal, Prime Minister Yingluck was impeached 190-18 on January 23, according to Fortune. On Facebook, Prime Minister Yingluck stated (as translated by Bing), “I still insist on saying it, even today. Thai democracy is dead, along with the application, but there are also destructive movement is continuous, as I am currently experiencing.”

The Bangkok Post announced the statements related to the arraignment of Prime Minister Yingluck and says, “Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who faces a criminal charge over the rice pledging scheme, was expected to be arraigned in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders… Sansern Poljiak said… writing an indictment for Ms Yingluck’s arraignment at the court, and the process would take about a month.”

The specific charges for Prime Minister Yingluck are, “dereliction of duty for failing to stop losses and corruption in the rice-pledging programme, in violation of Section 157 of the Criminal Code and the National Anti-Corruption Act.” If Prime Minister Yingluck is found guilty, the maximum penalty is 10 years in jail.

Prime Minister Yingluck left a final message on Facebook to her supporters stating the following.

“However, I hereby confirm that I will fight to prove my innocence, regardless of the result, and it is important that I get the stand side by side sister Thai people. We must together bring progress to the country. Make our democracy and create a fair, resulting in a truly Thai society.”

@MrMCos @thomasfullerNYT @nytimesworld I beg to differ, taking yingluck aka the shinawatra clan down might give credibility to the junta

— David Hayes (@Hayesur) January 25, 2015

[All images are from the referenced links.]