December 28, 2023
BANGKOK – The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Tuesday acquitted Yingluck Shinawatra of malfeasance in the 2011 transfer of Thawil Pliensri from his post as National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general to prime minister’s adviser. It also revoked an arrest warrant issued after Yingluck failed to show up for the trial in November last year.
The court ruled that Yingluck had not abused her power to remove Thawil and install her close relative Pol Gen Priewphan Damapong as NSC chief.
The ruling overturned a 2014 verdict by the Constitutional Court that saw her removed as prime minister for abusing power by interfering in the transfer of government officials.
Speculation that Yingluck is poised to return to Thailand rose on Monday when former deputy premier Wissanu Krea-ngam said she may be eligible for a royal pardon.
Her brother Thaksin received a royal pardon shortly after returning to Thailand on August 22, commuting his sentence from eight years to one.
Wissanu, a legal expert who has helped draft several constitutions, added that to be eligible for such clemency, she would first need to surrender to Thai authorities.
Yingluck was sentenced to five years in jail over her government’s contentious rice subsidy programme and also faces charges of unlawfully allocating 240 million baht to the “Roadshow to Thailand’s Future Thailand 2020” project.
Yingluck fled the country in 2017, just before being found guilty of negligence over her government’s rice-pledging scheme. She denies all charges, calling them politically motivated in the wake of the 2014 military coup led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha that ousted her government.