BANGKOK (Sputnik) – Shinawatra called off her appearance minutes before the trial earlier on Friday, saying that she was ill. Media reported later on the same day, citing the sources in the Pheu Thai Party, formerly led by Shinawtra, that the ex-prime minister had fled to Dubai, where her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, sentenced by a Thai court to two years in absentia, was residing.
"There is no confirmation that Yingluck is indeed in Dubai. Nether the Shinawatra family nor the Pheu Thai Party have made any official statements on the issue," the source said, adding that Dubai was "the most logical guess" about Shinawatra’s location.
The Pheu Thai Party source also said that Shinawatra’s failure to arrive in court on Friday was "a pure shock" for her supporters. According to several former parliamentarians, the ex-prime minister may return to Thailand for the court verdict put off to September 27, the source added.
After the hearing on the case, the judge said that the court did not believe in the ex-prime minister’s illness. The court has reportedly issued a warrant for her arrest, which may be voided if Shinawatra presents a medical certificate confirming her condition.
Shinawatra was impeached in 2015 over criminal charges related to a controversial rice subsidies scheme, which paid farmers twice the market rate for their crops. The program cost billions of dollars and inspired protests leading to the 2014 military coup that overthrew Shinawatra’s government.