San Francisco Chronicle

Illness of deposed leader forces postponeme­nt of trial


BANGKOK — Myanmar’s detained former leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was unable to attend a scheduled court hearing Monday because she felt ill, her lawyers said.

Aung San Suu Kyi is being tried in the capital Naypyitaw on charges of sedition — defined as spreading informatio­n that could cause public alarm or unrest — as well as two counts of flouting COVID-19 pandemic restrictio­ns during the 2020 election campaign, illegally importing walkie-talkies that were for her bodyguards’ use and the unlicensed use of the radios.

She was detained on Feb. 1 when the army seized power from her elected government.

One of Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, Min Min Soe, told the Associated Press the 76-yearold former leader felt sick Monday on the drive to the court from the secret location where she’s being held by the ruling military government. Her team requested her hearing be postponed, and she was allowed to return to her living quarters.

Her special court hearing was to have been the first since July, when sessions were suspended as a measure against a serious nationwide coronaviru­s outbreak. Monday’s session was supposed to cover the charges that Aung San Suu Kyi had violated the COVID-19 restrictio­ns.

Another of her lawyers, Khin Maung Zaw, said all those involved in the court hearings were tested for COVID-19 on Sunday. Aung San Suu Kyi has been vaccinated against the virus.

“We met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at 9:30 a.m. today. As soon as she entered the room, we learned that she was not well. Her face was red, with a runny nose,” said Khin Maung Zaw, using the honorific “Daw,” a respectful term for women. “So we asked the court to postpone today’s appointmen­t.”

His colleague Min Min Soe said Aung San Suu Kyi looked as if she had lost some weight, but told them she had not been sick for the past two months.

The army has said it seized power because last November’s general election, which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won in a landslide, was tainted by widespread fraud. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has denied the claim, and independen­t election observers have said the allegation has not been substantia­ted.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters as well as independen­t analysts say all of the charges are politicall­y motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s seizure of power.

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