Thai ex-PM defiant as verdict looms
Bangkok, Thailand - Embattled Thailand’s former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she was a ‘victim of politics’ in a defiant closing defence on Tuesday at her trial for negligence over a rice subsidy scheme that could see her jailed.
Supporters at the Supreme Court, many with banners reading ‘ We love Yingluck’ and ‘We’re by your side’, mobbed the former prime minister, whose personal appeal in her heartland has surged as her legal travails have deepened.
Yingluck’s government was toppled by the army in 2014 and she was then retroactively impeached.
She faces a criminal charge of negligence over a flagship policy to pay farmers nearly twice the market rate for their crops.
The scheme poured billions of dollars into her rural voter base but also allegedly caused massive graft as brokers sold sub-par rice or declared inflated inventories to scoop up the subsidy.
It left Thailand with huge stockpiles of unsold rice.
The court will issue a verdict on August 25, a ruling that could see Thailand’s first woman prime minister jailed for up to ten years.
In an impassioned hour-long speech to the court, Yingluck said she implemented the scheme in good faith to boost the incomes of Thailand’s poorest.
Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra