Thai Ex-PM Negligence Trial Commences

Former Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has pleaded not guilty in a brief hearing at the start of her trial on charges of negligence.

Shinawatra faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of neglect of duty over her role in a controversial rice subsidy scheme.

The ex-minister was forced to step down last year shortly before a military coup.

She maintains that the charges she faces are intended to keep her out of politics. The next hearing in the trial has been scheduled for 21 July.

In January this year, Yingluck was retroactively impeached by a military-appointed legislature for her role in the rice subsidy scheme. She was also banned from politics for five years.

The scheme paid rice farmers in rural areas – where her party has most of its support – twice the market rate for their crops, in a programme that cost the government billions of dollars.

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