Conflicts & War

Myanmar junta formally charges Suu Kyi for alleged election fraud

Bangkok, Jan 31 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta Monday formally charged ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi with the alleged crime of committing fraud in the November 2020 elections, sources said.

The special court, set up after the Feb.1, 2021 coup to hear cases of politicians and other civilian leaders in the military-ruled country, will begin the trial on Feb.14, the sources told EFE.

The court in Zabuthiri in capital Naypyitaw expects to conclude the trial in six months, said the sources, requesting anonymity due to the sensitive matter.

It is one among the slew of criminal cases against Suu Kyi by the military junta that completes a year in office on Tuesday.

The court has already pronounced four sentences entailing six years in prison against her.

The court later reduced the term to two years after the military junta pardoned her.

Suu Kyi faces violating the Official Secrets Act charges, punishable by up to 14 years in prison and a handful of graft allegations, each punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Win Myint, the former president, and ex-cabinet member Min Thu are co-accused in the case of allegedly influencing Myanmar’s poll body to rig election results in favor of the then ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

The Myanmar military arrested Suu Kyi, 76, and several leaders of the NLD party after overthrowing the democratically elected government.

The coup and the mass detention of politicians and activists triggered unprecedented civilian protests across the country and the campaign for civil disobedience, led by government employees who refused to go to work.

The coup and the subsequent civilian uprising threw the Southeast Asian nation into political, social, and economic crises.

Myanmar security forces have responded brutally to peaceful street protests. They have allegedly killed at least 1,500 people since the shocking coup, activists and monitoring groups said.

Last Friday, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet recalled that around 12,000 remain arbitrarily detained for voicing their opposition against the military rulers.

The situation sparked a spiral of violence with new civilian militias that have exacerbated dozens of ethnic conflicts in the troubled country.

Armed clashes have grown in frequency and intensity across the country, as has the persecution against ethnic and religious minorities, including against the Rohingyas.

The military justifies the coup, saying the civilian government led by Suu Kyi had rigged the ballot in which her party won a landslide. However, international observers have said the elections were free and fair. EFE


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