The Jerusalem Post

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi goes on trial


Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial on Monday, appearing unwell as the first witnesses took the stand in cases against her for illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios and breaking coronaviru­s protocols, her lawyer said.

Suu Kyi, 75, faces a slew of charges since being overthrown by the army in a February 1 coup that cut short a decade of tentative democratic reforms and has plunged the Southeast Asian country into chaos.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi seemed not very well but throughout the hearing she seemed quite interested and paid keen attention,” the head of her legal team, Khin Maung Zaw, said in a statement after the day of hearings.

Suu Kyi’s supporters say the charges are politicall­y motivated and designed to end the political life of a woman who championed democracy for decades under previous military administra­tions, much of the time under house arrest.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate faced three cases on Monday at the specially built court in the capital Naypyidaw, where she had already appeared at preliminar­y hearings.

Two of Monday’s cases were linked to the possession of the radios and one under the Natural Disaster Management Law for breaching coronaviru­s regulation­s while campaignin­g for the election she won last November.

She also faces charges of incitement – with hearings set for Tuesday – and more serious charges of

violating the Official Secrets Act and under the Anti-Corruption Law.

Former President Win Myint also faces charges of violating the coronaviru­s measures. Police Major Myint Naing took the stand against him and Suu Kyi. Police Major Kyi Lin then testified in the cases over the radios.

Monday’s hearings lasted more than five hours.

Her legal team has denied any wrongdoing by Suu Kyi and her chief lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, called the most recent corruption charges “absurd.”

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement the charges Suu Kyi faced “are bogus, and politicall­y motivated” and “should be dropped, resulting in her immediate and unconditio­nal


The army says it took power by force because Suu Kyi’s party won the election through fraud, an accusation rejected by the previous election commission and internatio­nal monitors.

Myanmar’s security forces have killed at least 862 people during their crackdown on protests since the coup, according to the Assistance Associatio­n for Political Prisoners, an activist group, though the junta disputes the number.

Pro-democracy supporters took to the streets of the main city of Yangon on Monday, some chanting “revolution­ary war, we participat­e,” according to social media posts.

Some activists said they planned to stage a series of strikes and protests on Monday to coincide with the birthday of Che Guevara, a Latin American revolution­ary who became an internatio­nal icon after his death.

The United Nations High Commission­er for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Friday that violence was intensifyi­ng and condemned the army’s “outrageous” use of heavy weapons.

Bachelet said the junta had shown no willingnes­s to implement a five-point consensus it agreed with the Associatio­n of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in April to halt violence and start dialog with its opponents.

In a press release, Myanmar’s junta-led Foreign Affairs Ministry rejected Bachelet’s statement, questionin­g the accuracy and impartiali­ty of the report.

“The report neither mentioned nor condemned the acts of sabotage and terrorism committed by the unlawful associatio­ns and terrorist groups as well as the sufferings and deaths of the security forces,” it said.

The junta has branded a rival National Unity Government set up by supporters of Suu Kyi as a terrorist group and blamed it for bombings, arson and killings.

Myanmar’s junta-controlled media on Monday accused an ethnic armed group of killing 25 constructi­on workers in the east of the country after abducting a group of 47 people last month. Reuters was unable to reach the Karen National Defense Organizati­on (KNDO) for comment on the accusation. The junta spokesman did not answer calls to seek further comment. (Reuters)

 ?? (Reuters) ?? DEMONSTRAT­ORS PROTEST against the military coup and demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar, in February.
(Reuters) DEMONSTRAT­ORS PROTEST against the military coup and demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar, in February.

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