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Meechai clarifies Yingluck’s legal position, politicians mull fallout 

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Constitution Drafting Commission chief Meechai Ruchupan said yesterday that if Yingluck Shinawatra failed to appear for the postponed verdict-reading on September 27, the court could go ahead and deliver its ruling in the rice-scheme case.

Meechai said Yingluck’s absence from court yesterday violated the law and it was thus legitimate to seize her bail of Bt30 million.
The noted legal expert explained that, in line with court procedures, the verdict reading would be postponed for 30 days, after which the court may deliver its ruling in her absence.
However, Yingluck can still appeal the verdict – a right that is guaranteed under the new charter. But if a pending new law on court procedures against political officeholders is enacted, she will have to be present in court to make an appeal. The statute of limitation on her case, of 15 to 20 years, would also become invalid under the new law, he added.
Meechai confirmed a guilty verdict would mean she faced a lifetime political ban, since violation of Article 157 disqualifies an election candidate under the new charter.
Meanwhile, Yingluck’s no-show yesterday drew mixed responses from political figures.
Key Democrat figure Warong Dejkijvikrom, who pushed a motion in Parliament on the controversial government-to-government (G-to-G) sales under the rice-pledging scheme, posted on Facebook that Yingluck might have felt unsure about the verdict and wanted to first hear the ruling on her former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom Boonsong, in the G-to-G case.
But as she was absent yesterday, it’s finished for her, he said.
Tawisan Lonanurak, a former People’s Democratic Reform Committee member in Nakhon Ratchasima, said he was surprised that Yingluck did not show up at the court after travelling around the country praying for good fortune and declaring publicly she would fight for justice. 
Sompoch Prasartthai, a red-shirt coordinator in the same province, said he understood that Yingluck was under pressure over the ruling, which seemed likely to bring negative consequences for her, while reconciliation was not in sight. That could be the reason she decided not to show up yesterday, he ventured.

Published : August 26, 2017

By : Khanittha Theppajorn The Nation