Accessibility links

Breaking News

Thailand's Fugitive Ex-Prime Minister Gets Serbian Citizenship

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (file photo)

Serbia has granted citizenship to Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who fled the Southeastern Asian country nearly two years ago to avoid prosecution.

Serbia’s Official Gazette published the notice about the decision on August 8.

The government decided to grant Yingluck citizenship on June 27, citing a legal provision that a foreign citizen can be granted Serbian citizenship if that’s in line with the country's interest.

Shinwatra’s current whereabouts are unknown. Serbian officials and Thai diplomats in Belgrade were not immediately available for comment.

With a Serbian passport, the ex-prime minister can travel without a visa to more than 100 countries, including most of members of the European Union.

In September 2017, a month after Shinawatra left Thailand, the Supreme Court found the politician guilty of negligence and sentenced her to five years in prison.

The 52-year-old has pleaded innocent to the charges related to a controversial rice-subsidy policy she implemented after taking over as Thailand's first female prime minister in 2011.

Shinwatra’s time in office ended in 2014, when she was found guilty of abusing her power.

The army later overthrew her government in a coup.

Her brother Thaksin, another former Thai prime minister, fled Thailand in 2006 to avoid a prison sentence for corruption.

He was granted Montenegrin citizenship in 2009.

With reporting by Reuters and AP