The Daily Telegraph

Suu Kyi goes on trial over junta’s ‘absurd’ charges

- By Nicola Smith Asia Correspond­ent

THE trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader opened yesterday, with her supporters denouncing the charges against her as “politicall­y motivated” and “absurd”.

Ms Suu Kyi, 75, has been in detention since military generals seized power on Feb 1 and then brought a series of eclectic charges that could result in her being jailed for more than a decade.

Yesterday, the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s lawyers defended her against accusation­s of illegally importing walkie-talkies and failing to comply with coronaviru­s restrictio­ns during last November’s elections, which her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.

Today, she will face the more serious charges of sedition, alongside Win Myint, the former president, and another senior member of the NLD.

A further trial date has still to be set for allegation­s, introduced only last week, of violating a colonial-era state secrets law and corruption.

Ms Suu Kyi has been accused of taking more than half a million dollars and about 10kg of gold in bribes – a charge that carries a sentence of up to 15 years.

Khin Maung Zaw, a leading member of her legal team, last week dismissed the charges against her “absurd”.

Yesterday, he told The Daily Telegraph that he believed in her innocence and suing her for corruption was “baseless nonsense”.

He added: “Prosecutin­g Aung San Suu Kyi for corruption is like spitting towards the sky... I’m working as her lawyer because I believe she has notcommitt­ed any of the charges against her.”

Human Rights Watch denounced the “bogus” charges as “politicall­y motivated by the intention to nullify her landslide election victory”.

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