News / Asia

Beleaguered Thai PM Defends Herself Against Rice Charges

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is helped in a wheelchair as she arrives at the National Anti-Corruption Commission office in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, March 31, 2014.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is helped in a wheelchair as she arrives at the National Anti-Corruption Commission office in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, March 31, 2014.
Reuters
— Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday showed up to defend herself against charges linked to a ruinous government rice pledging scheme that could lead to her removal from office.
          
The charges were brought against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). Should the commission forward the case to the Senate for possible impeachment, Yingluck would be suspended from official duties.
          
It was unclear when such a decision would be made, but it could take weeks.
          
Yingluck arrived at the anti-graft commission's headquarters to defend herself, following earlier speculation that she might send lawyers to represent her instead.
          
She criticized the NACC last week for not giving her enough time to gather evidence and for fast-tracking the investigation.
          
Government supporters accuse the courts and independent agencies, including the NACC, of bias, and say several judges are aligned with the conservative establishment.
          
Yingluck has been charged with dereliction of duty for her role in overseeing a government rice-buying scheme that has run up huge losses and left hundreds of thousands of farmers unpaid.
          
Her allegations prompted the anti-graft commission to issue a statement defending the way it has handled Yingluck's case.
          
"As there were suspicions that Yingluck abused her position... the NACC has had to investigate the suspicions to get to the truth," the NACC said in statement.
          
"Yingluck has received just and fair treatment [by the NACC] under the framework of the constitution," the statement continued.
          
Yingluck is nominally the head of the National Rice Committee. Her government introduced the scheme, which ended on Feb. 28 this year, in 2011, paying farmers above market price for their grain.
          
She has come under huge pressure over the past five months by protesters trying to oust her. Demonstrators have occupied state offices and key intersections in Bangkok in a bid to remove her and rid the country of the influence of her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
          
Protesters disrupted a Feb. 2 general election, halting voting in parts of Bangkok and the south. The Constitutional Court nullified the election this month, throwing Thailand into deeper turmoil and leaving Yingluck in charge of a caretaker government with severely restricted powers.
          
Protesters want ill-defined political and electoral reforms before a new general election is held.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid