Supporters urge former Thai PM to fight as trial nears end
Bangkok: Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she is not corrupt today ahead of a court appearance where she will defend her management of a rice subsidy that Thailand's current military government says she grossly mishandled.
Hundreds of supporters outside the court shouted "Prime Minister, fight fight!" Yingluck's bank accounts were frozen after an administrative ruling held her responsible for about USD 1 billion in losses from the subsidy.
The trial on a charge of criminal negligence is nearing an end, with Yingluck delivering her closing statement today and a verdict coming later this month that could put her in prison for 10 years if she is convicted.
"I will express to the court my confidence that I was not complicit in corruption and I confirm my innocence," Yingluck said before heading into the court. Her supporters believe she is being persecuted by opponents of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.
Yingluck was banned from political office for five years after the national assembly appointed by the military government impeached her. Thaksin, a telecommunications mogul, was ousted after being accused of corruption and insulting the monarchy.
His ouster set off sometimes-violent battles for power between his supporters and opponents. He has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape a prison sentence for corruption.
His supporters say the political establishment opposes him because his electoral popularity threatens their entrenched privileges.