Don says UK will not give Yingluck political asylum

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai: the United Kingdom has assured Thailand that fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will not be given political asylum there. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The UK government has assured Thailand that fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will not be given political asylum to reside there, according to Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

Any visit she makes to the United Kingdon would be limited to the normal duration of a legal stay, Mr Don said on Tuesday.

The minister said Thai authorities have not been able to confirm Yingluck’s whereabouts since she failed to attend the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Position’s scheduled reading of its guilty judgement in her rice-scheme trial on Aug 25.

The court sentenced her on Sept 27 to five years in jail for failing to stop false and corrupt government-to-government rice sales under the scheme. The ruling was made in absentia as the former prime minister fled the country before the judgement.

Mr Don confirmed the ministry’sheld by Yingluck after she failed to appeal against the Supreme Court’s ruling.

He said Yingluck’s exact whereabouts remained unknown. There were reports she had fled to Dubai before travelling to Europe. However, he had yet to learn which country she stayed in. There were rumours she had travelled to the UK, he added.

Asked if Yingluck is expected to seek political asylum after her passports were revoked, the minister said each country has its own laws and procedures for people applying for political asylum.  

The UK had assured Thailand that if Yingluck wanted to stay in England she would not be given political asylum seeker status. Any stay would have to be in conformity with UK laws on the duration of a legal stay, Mr Don said.

He declined to comment on speculation Yingluck might follow in the footsteps of her elder brother Thaksin and obtain citizenship of a foreign country. Reporters should ask Yingluck herself that question if they wanted an answer, he said.

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