DPM Prawit expects tamed crowd on Aug 25
Prawit predicts 1,000 Yingluck supporters at court
Just over 1,000 people are expected to turn up at the Supreme Court next Friday to lend moral support to embattled former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra as she hears the court's ruling in the rice-pledging case, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said.
The number will be slightly higher than when the former premier delivered her closing statement at the court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Aug 1 but will not even approach the tens of thousands as speculated by some quarters, he predicted.
The government wants to prevent the trial from turning into a political rally, even warning van operators this week they would be fined for ferrying Ms Yingluck's supporters to the court without prior permission.
According to Gen Prawit, who also serves as defence minister, police officers will be deployed when the judgement is passed down.
They will also be sent to the houses of the adjudicating judges, he said.
Police will sound out the spots where security should be provided, and supporters and opponents of Ms Yingluck will be separated to ward off confrontations, he added.
Ms Yingluck has been charged with neglecting her duty in failing to prevent corruption in the rice-pledging scheme, her government's flagship policy. If found guilty, she could face a jail term of up to 10 years.
Surasak Treerattrakoon, director-general of the Department of Investigation under the Office of the Attorney-General, said yesterday prosecutors submitted a 211-page closing statement in the case to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
On the same day, prosecutors delivered to the court a 165-page closing statement on another case in which former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and 27 other individuals and juristic entities were alleged to be involved in bogus government-to-government (G2G) rice sales to China, Mr Surasak said.
Mr Boonsong's closing statement was attached to that of the former premier and sent to the court as the two cases are related, he noted.
Ms Yingluck has been ordered by a government-installed panel to pay 35.7 billion baht in compensation for the rice-pledging scheme that reportedly cost the government five times this amount after farmers were paid above-market prices. She petitioned the Administrative Court on July 19 to issue an injunction against an order to confiscate her assets.
Somchai Ngamwongchon, a spokesman for the court, said the adjudicating judges will send documents that may serve as evidence to the justice rapporteur, who will review them and forward his or her opinion to the judges.
If the judges dismiss the petition, an appeal cannot be made, Mr Somchai said. Ms Yingluck would only be able to file another petition if more of her assets are seized, he said.
But if the court were to issue an injunction the ministry could still lodge an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court, Mr Somchai said. The first ruling may influence the second case, he said.