Thailand set to issue arrest warrant for former prime minister

Yingluck's court no-show was a "big surprise" to most people in Thailand

Former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra
Former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra

Thailand's Supreme Court is preparing to issue an arrest warrant for former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she failed to appear in court to hear the verdict in her two-year negligence trial.

Yingluck's lawyer Norawit Larleang told the court Friday that she was ill and could not attend the hearing, but did not provide a medical certificate, leading the court to refuse the excuse. He later told CNN that he didn't know whether the former prime minister was in Thailand or outside the country.

The former Thai leader faces up to 10 years in prison for alleged negligence over a rice-buying scheme, which cost the country billions of dollars. The court has set a new date for the verdict of September 27.

Yingluck's no-show was a "big surprise" to most people in Thailand, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University told CNN.

"The way that she had fought, it had looked like she was willing to go through with (the trial).

"Now she'll be thinking about fleeing. (The verdict delay) provides a window for potential flight....if she has not fled already," he said.

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