Thailand Revokes Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Passports

Thailand Revokes Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Passports

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Above: Ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sits in her car as she leaves Parliament after delivering her statement to the National Legislative Assembly meeting in Bangkok, January 9, 2015.

Thailand says it has revoked the passports of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who fled the country last month before facing sentencing in connection with a botched rice subsidy program.

The Foreign Ministry says Yingluck carried two diplomatic passports and two personal ones.

Yingluck was convicted by Thailand's supreme court in September on charges of negligence and sentenced in absentia to five years in prison, as she fled Thailand before the verdict was announced.

The government lost over $1 billion in the scheme, which bought rice at above-market prices from poor farmers and aimed to resell it later at a higher price.

Yingluck has denied the charges, claiming they were politically motivated. The foreign ministry says it is believed she is living in the United Kingdom, but her exact whereabouts are unknown.

Yingluck was overthrown in 2014 in a military coup led by Prime Minister Prayuth, who was then the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army. The coup capped a decade-long period of political turmoil that began when her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown in 2006 by the military, which backed Thailand's Bangkok-based royalist-leaning, wealthy elite.

The anti-Thaksin forces, who protested in the streets of Bangkok wearing yellow shirts, gave rise to the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts, whose ranks included the rural poor who strongly supported Thaksin's policies. The two sides engaged in violent, sometimes deadly clashes in the streets of Bangkok during that era.

Thaksin has lived in exile in Dubai since he was overthrown in the 2006 coup.