Thailand’s former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra proclaimed her innocence Tuesday at the start of a trial that could see her jailed for a decade.
The ousted premier – who was removed from power shortly before last year’s coup – appeared at Bangkok’s Supreme Court on Tuesday to formally hear the charges against her of dereliction of duty in overseeing a rice subsidy scheme that lost billions of dollars.
Critics say the case is part of a politically motivated campaign against her family.
“I am confident that I am innocent and I hope the court will give me justice and allow everything to proceed in accordance with the law,” Yingluck said.
She was granted bail at the brief hearing after pleading not guilty, on the condition that she doesn’t leave the country without written permission. The next hearing is due to take place on July 21.
Yingluck was ousted from her post by a court decision that came two weeks before the military staged a coup on May 22 last year.
The same charges also led to her impeachment in January by the military-appointed legislature, which banned her from politics for five years.
Her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted in a 2006 coup.
A group of about 50 supporters, including members of Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party, defied a ban on gatherings of more than five people to show their support outside the court.
Thaksin, meanwhile, told Reuters reporters in South Korea that he had no plans to mobilize ‘red shirts’ in Thailand.
“I think democracy will prevail sooner or later, but we have to be patient, and we have to be peaceful,” he said while in Seoul to speak at a conference. “Don’t resort to any kind of violence.”
He added that the ruling junta’s first year in power was “not so impressive yet”.
Additional reporting from Associated Press
Business & Investment Opportunities
Saigon Business Corporation Pte Ltd (SBC) is incorporated in Singapore since 1994.