Yingluck barred from talking politics at EU parliament

The Supreme Court has prohibited Yingluck Shinawatra, a former elected Prime Minister from the Pheu Thai Party, from flying to Europe.  

According to Khaosod News Agency, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Wednesday, 2 December 2015, denied a request from Yingluck Shinawatra to travel to Europe to share her views on Thai politics.

The court reasoned that there is insufficient reason to allow her to travel overseas as the ex-PM is currently facing lawsuits on corruption allegations over the Rice Subsidy Program, a policy introduced under her party which guaranteed a fixed and above-market price of rice for farmers.  

Last month, the ex-PM received a letter from Elmar Brok and Werner Langen, Members of the European Parliament. In a letter dated 7 October 2015, the MEPs invited Yingluck to discuss Thai politics after the 2014 coup d’état with the EU parliament either in Strasbourg, France, or Brussels, Belgium.

Brok is the head of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

"We have been following the latest political developments in Thailand with concern," the letter wrote. "The European Parliament stands firmly for democracy and the protection of democratic values. For this reason, we would be pleased if you could accept our initiation to an exchange of views on the situation.”

After the letter was publicised, the military government said that its authenticity had to be examined. Many people, especially supporters of the military government, shared opinions on social media that the letter might be fake, saying that it might be a ploy for the ex-PM to flee abroad.

After the authenticity of the letter was confirmed, many Thai people shared information on the biographies of the two MEPs, alleging that Brok solicited the services of Ukrainian prostitutes and insulted Ukrainian women. The allegation against Brok was made by a women's rights activist, Alexandra Shevchenko, in 2013.

When asked by the media on 24 November 2015, Don Pramudwinai, the Foreign Minister of Thailand, said that there had been reports about attempts to lobby the EU Parliament.

In February 2015, the Supreme Court denied Yingluck’s request to travel to Hong Kong to reunite with her brother, Thaksin, a former controversial PM ousted out by the 2006 coup, for similar reasons.

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