|Thai court sentences ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra to 5 years in jail|
After a trial running over two years, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions began reading the verdict at 11 a.m. local time and continued for nearly four hours.
In an announcement released by the court, it read that even though the unmilled rice program was an act according to government policy that the cabinet had stated to the National Assembly, if the implementation of such policy was not in accordance with law, such acts could be inspected by the judicial process.
Yingluck could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison if found guilty of negligence over a costly rice subsidy scheme that helped to bring her to power in an election in 2011.
In the scheme, Yingluck's government paid Thai rice farmers inflated prices for their crops, driving up global rice prices.
The subsidy scheme did not work, costing the country 8 billion U.S. dollars and leaving it with vast stockpiles of rice.
Yingluck denied all the charges when giving her closing oral statement on Aug. 1, arguing she was not responsible for the day-to-day running of the scheme and insisted she was a victim of political persecution.
The verdict was supposed to be read on Aug. 25, but Yingluck, the country's first woman prime minister, failed to show up.