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Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra speaks to reporters in front of the Supreme Court in Bangkok on Aug. 1. (Photo by Hiroshi Kotani)
Politics

Yingluck looks to future in final court appearance

Ousted Thai leader defies junta and reaches out to voters as trial nears end

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent | Vietnam

BANGKOK -- In her darkest hour, former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has turned to the country's rice farmers, a vote bank she tapped for her maiden electoral triumph.

"I am most proud [because] ... I had the opportunity to push [a subsidy] program on behalf of rice farmers," Yingluck told a Bangkok court on Tuesday. The scheme was meant to "benefit the economy at the grassroots," she added as she read a 20-page statement. Toward the end, as her voice began to crack, she fought back tears, describing her personal bond with the "spine of the nation," as she called the farmers.

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