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Democrats Blast Regime For ex-PM Yingluck Yingluck Shinawatra's Passport Delay

Bangkok, Mon Sep 04 2017
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The government must cancel the passports of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra immediately or risk being accused of complicity in her vanishing act, according to Wirat Kalayasiri, chief of the Democrat Party‘s legal team.

He said he suspects the government did not genuinely want to see Ms Yingluck face the Supreme Court ruling over her rice-pledging trial, which she missed on August 25. She has not been heard from since. Mr Wirat was responding to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam's insistence that not every defendant facing an arrest warrant from the court must have their passport seized.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions released an arrest warrant for the ousted ex-premier after she failed to show up on August 25. It also confiscated her 30-million-baht surety. The court has rescheduled the final ruling to Sept 27.

Ms Yingluck, who is on trial for ignoring alleged irregularities in the rice scheme during her tenure, is widely speculated to have fled the country, possibly via Singapore to Dubai where her older brother Thaksin, himself ousted in 2006, is known to reside.

Mr Wirat said in Ms Yingluck's case, the court's issuance of a warrant was justification enough to revoke both her passports as a way to pin her mobility. Apart from her Thai passport, Ms Ying­luck, out of respect for her role as a former premier, also has a diplomatic passport.

“Her passports must be cancelled immediately because the case has to do with [alleged] corruption involving hundreds of billions of baht of state money,” he said. It is worth noting Ms Yingluck is being tried for criminal negligence, not graft. If the government does not take away her passports, she will be able to move freely to other countries. “And it would look as though the government was complicit in, if not having consented to, her freely going wherever she pleases,” Mr Wirat said.

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