Yingluck's bid to travel abroad rejected

Yingluck's bid to travel abroad rejected

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra talks to reporters last month after arriving at parliament to deliver her closing statement on the rice scheme. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra talks to reporters last month after arriving at parliament to deliver her closing statement on the rice scheme. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The National Council for Peace and Order has rejected a request from former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to travel overseas on grounds she is undergoing the process of being indicted over negligence of duty in the rice-pledging scheme, several news agencies have reported.

The reports, citing an army source, said Ms Yingluck submitted a request to the NCPO to travel to Hong Kong on Sunday.

But the NCPO rejected the request as she was about to be indicted by the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) in the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions over the rice-pledging scheme.

Ms Yingluck has also been impeached by the National Legislative Assembly after the National Anti-Corruption Commission filed a motion against her.

Reports speculated Ms Yingluck wanted to meet her elder brother and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong.

NCPO spokesman Winthai Suwaree confirmed on Sunday that Ms Yingluck's request was rejected because the case against her was already under legal process.

He said it was necessary for the NCPO to be careful in considering the request. In this case, the NCPO had to take into consideration many factors including the reasons for wanting to travel abroad and the legal implications.

"Since the case is now in the commencement stage, it is necessary [for the NCPO] to coordinate with the several agencies concerned to seek legal advice on the right way to handling the matter," Col Winthai said.

He said the NCPO needed to carefully consider whether there would be any effect on the legal case.

Col Winthai said there are many people who need permission from the NCPO to travel abroad. In submitting a request to the NCPO, most of them do not want the matter to become public. Therefore, some of the requests were approved without fanfare for the sake of privacy, he added.

Norrawit Lalaeng, Ms Yingluck's personal lawyer, said he was responsible only for the case concerning the rice-pledging scheme and could not comment on her request to travel abroad.

He said that in his opinion, the OAG was still drafting the indictment and had not yet filed it with the Supreme Court. It is also not known whether the indictment will be accepted.

Therefore, there should be no legal obstruction to Ms Yingluck travelling abroad since her rights and liberties are protected under Section 4 of the interim constitution of 2014, Mr Norrawit said.

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