Yingluck Shinawatra waves to supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok in 2017. (AP file photo)
BELGRADE, Serbia: Fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was sentenced in Thailand to five years in prison on graft-related charges, has received Serbian citizenship.
The state news agency Tanjug reported Thursday that the Serbian government granted her the citizenship "because it could be in the interest of Serbia". Serbian officials did not comment on the reason behind the decision.
With the Serbian passport, she can travel without a visa to over 100 countries, including most members of the European Union.
Yingluck fled Thailand in 2017 days before she was convicted of running a rice subsidy scheme that was riddled with corruption and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. She and her supporters say the case was politically motivated.
She skipped bail and reportedly went to London via Dubai, where her billionaire brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, resides in self-imposed exile after fleeing Thailand also facing corruption charges.
Her current whereabouts are unknown.
Both Thaksin and Yingluck headed elected governments that were toppled in military coups — Thaksin in 2006 and Yingluck in 2014. Thaksin has citizenship of another Balkan country, Montenegro, which he received in 2009.
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bail : money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money - เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว
citizenship : being a member of a particular country and having rights because of it - ชนชาติ, ความเป็นพลเมือง
convicted : having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law - ต้องโทษ, ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่าข้อกล่าวหามีความผิดจริง
corruption (n): dishonest or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority -
exile : a situation in which you live in a foreign country because you feel you cannot live in your own country, usually for political reasons - การลี้ภัย การถูกขับออกนอกประเทศ
flee (past form: fled) (verb): to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger or consequences - หนี
interest : an advantage or benefit to someone or something - ผลประโยชน์
riddled with : full of (something bad) - เต็มไปด้วย
whereabouts : where someone is - ที่อยู่,สถานที่,ตำแหน่งที่