Yingluck urges freedom of expression ahead of referendum

Yingluck urges freedom of expression ahead of referendum

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets her supporters upon arriving at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to hear witnesses in the rice-pledging programme case on Friday. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets her supporters upon arriving at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to hear witnesses in the rice-pledging programme case on Friday. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called on the government to ease ongoing tensions by allowing freedom of expression ahead of the Aug 7 constitution referendum.

Ms Yingluck said this to her supporters on arriving at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Thursday morning. She was attending the hearing of prosecution witnesses in the rice-pledging programme case in which she had been accused of neglect of duty when she allowed the programme to continue despite irregularities, causing over 500 billion baht in damage.

Two prosecution witnesses — Supat Iewchai, assistant manager of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, and Jirachai Moonthongroy, deputy permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office — were to testify on Friday.

On the country's situation involving human rights and freedom of expression on which other countries had expressed concerns, the former prime minister said she wanted the government and the National Council for Peace and Order to accept international opinions for consideration.

"As a citizen, I want to see a good atmosphere ahead of the charter referendum so everyone feels free to express his opinions," she said.

Ms Yingluck stressed that it was essential that people have freedom of expression, know the substances of the draft charter and exercise their right at the referendum. 

She hoped the Election Commission and the government would hold a free and fair referendum to ease the concerns of other countries about the situation in Thailand.


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