Thai ex-PM de­fi­ant as ver­dict looms

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

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.

(AFP)

For­mer Thai prime min­is­ter Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra

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