Former Thai PM defends herself in court over rice lawsuit
Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra talks to members of the media as she arrives at the Thai Supreme Court to deliver her closing statement for the trial of her government's rice pledging program in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug. 1, 2017.(Xinhua/Li Mangmang)
BANGKOK, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday defended herself from a criminal lawsuit involving a scandalous rice program, insisting that she has been a victim of an "intricate political game."
Yingluck appeared in court to make a final verbal statement pertaining to the populist rice program, over which she has been accused by public prosecutors of duty negligence and misconduct in office.
Those alleged offenses on the part of the former lady leader had incurred 14.7 billion baht (460 million U.S. dollars) in state losses, according to the public prosecutors.
Reading out the 19-page statement before the court in charge of criminal lawsuits against politicians, Yingluck maintained that she had never failed to do her duty as the head of government, which had launched the rice program in the purported interests of farmers nationwide years ago.
Neither had she been involved in any corruption with the rice program as alleged by the prosecutors, Yingluck told the nine-judge Supreme Court, which is scheduled to deliver a verdict on the case on Aug. 25.
She said she had only been vicitmized by the "intricate political game" which has rendered her a long legal battle in court.
"I did nothing wrong ... I realized the woes of the rice farmers who virtually are backbone of the country and implemented the rice program to help them make ends meet. I had delivered my policy in parliament and my government had been obliged to implement it in the course of interests of the farmers."
"I beg for mercy of the (Supreme) Court to lift the lawsuit against me. I beg for the (Supreme) Court to proceed on my case with respect to the facts, laws and truthful witnesses," Yingluck said.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the building of the Supreme Court to support the former premier, who waved to the crowd, shook their hands and received flowers following the delivery of her final statement.