Thailand formally asked Britain to extradite former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who fled the country last year before she was convicted and sentenced over charges of gross negligence in a failed rice subsidy program during her tenure, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said Tuesday.
Prayuth confirmed a BBC report that an official request had been given to the British government.
Yingluck, who has posted photos on her social media accounts in Britain, has denied any wrongdoing and described the charges against her as politically motivated.
“The extradition [request] sent to England is a normal procedure by the national police bureau, the attorney general and the foreign ministry. Just because she was seen there,” Prayuth told reporters, referring to Yingluck.
“We cannot arrest anyone overseas,” he said, “so it is the job of the very country to respond depending on their decision.”
Yingluck, 51, who was overthrown in a coup led by then army chief Gen. Prayuth in May 2014, fled Thailand through Cambodia in August 2017 and recently ended up in London, BenarNews sources said.
After overthrowing Yingluck, Thailand’s junta pursued criminal charges claiming that she had failed to stop corruption and losses of more than U.S. $5 billion in her administration’s scheme to buy rice crops from farmers at prices well above the market rate. The program failed as the global rice market plummeted.
On Saturday, Yingluck’s video clip posted on social media showed her in Covent Garden in West End, London’s main entertainment neighborhood.
Thailand’s extradition request, sent by the Royal Thai Embassy in London to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was dated July 5, 2018, BenarNews sources said.
Prayuth said he did not discuss Yingluck’s extradition during his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on June 20.
Yingluck shared the same fate as her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who served as prime minister from 2001 until he was toppled by a military coup in 2006. Thaksin came back to Thailand in 2008 but went into self-imposed exile in several countries, including Dubai, after he was sentenced to two years in jail for land fraud.