Conflicts & War

Myanmar’s Supreme Court to judge Suu Kyi in Official Secrets Act case

(Update 1: adds with statement from APHR in pars 9-13, updates headline)

Bangkok, May 21 (EFE).- Myanmar’s Supreme Court will judge deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act, the most serious charge she has faced since being placed under house arrest following the Feb. 1 coup, a lawyer said Friday.

The court will assume the case currently handled by a district court in Yangon, Khin Maung Zaw, one of the elected leader’s lawyers, said Friday, adding that judicial authorities have not explained the reasons for this change.

The Supreme Court, based in the country’s capital, Naypyitaw, will hold the first hearing on Jun. 3, the Yangon court judge told Suu Kyi’s lawyers on Thursday.

Her economic advisor, the Australian Sean Turnell, who was arrested days after the coup, and three government ministers deposed by the military will also be tried in the court for the same crime.

Suu Kyi, 75, also faces five charges in a Naypyitaw court, including the alleged illegal importation of electronic devices, violating Covid-19 protocol and inciting acts against the state and public order.

The deposed leader, barred till now from meeting her lawyers in person, is scheduled to appear Monday in court.

The accusations against Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest during the previous military junta’s rule between 1988 and 2011, have been strongly rejected by her lawyers. She has also been accused of corruption, but no charges have been brought before court.

The case against Suu Kyi and other members of the elected government is taking place as protests and a civil disobedience movement against the military junta continue amid violent repression by security forces, who have killed at least 810 people and detained more than 5,000.

On Friday, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) called on the governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to pressure the junta to comply with the agreements reached at the bloc’s summit in April, including an end to violence against civilians.

“It has already been a full month and nothing has changed. [Junta chief] Min Aung Hlaing is blatantly ignoring ASEAN’s calls and wasting their time,” said Charles Santiago, a Malaysian member of parliament and APHR chair, calling for “binding measures” to stop the bloodshed.

On Apr. 24, Min Aung Hlaing pledged to fulfill the five points agreed with the other member states that make up the bloc, including the cessation of violence against civilians, dialog between all parties and mediation to solve the crisis.

To date, none of these points have been implemented and Min Aung Hlaing days later reneged on his commitment, prioritizing “maintaining law and order” over the “suggestions” of ASEAN leaders.

“ASEAN must make it clear that continued violence will come with consequences, such as a suspension of all official meeting invitations, imposing a travel ban on military generals in the region, as well as targeted sanctions against the military and its economic interests,” Santiago added.

The junta justifies the coup alleging fraud during November’s election, in which Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide, and which were considered legitimate by international observers. EFE


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