Conflicts & War

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi has not seen her lawyers for six weeks

Bangkok, Aug 23 (EFE).- Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, arrested after the military toppled her elected government in February, has not met her lawyers in past six weeks, a legal representative said Monday.

The legal defense team of the Nobel laureate now plans to seek permission to meet their client after the military rulers delayed her trial until early September.

“There would not be hearings for next Monday and Tuesday,” one of Suu Kyi’s lawyers, Khin Muang Zaw, who also represents ousted President Win Myint, told EFE.

“We have (had) no contact with our clients for six weeks,” the lawyer said in an encrypted message.

“We plan to request a meeting of clients and lawyers.”

The military rulers have delayed their hearings several times since last July, first due to public holidays and then because of the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Suu Kyi was detained soon after the military seized power on Feb.1, throwing the country into a deep political crisis.

The trial began more than four months after Suu Kyi, 75, was arrested following the military coup on Feb.1.

The military rulers accuse the National League for Democracy party (NLD) leader of violating coronavirus restrictions during her campaigning for the November 2020 elections that she won but were annulled by the military over fraud allegations.

The military also accuses her of taking a bribe from Yangon’s former chief minister, having unlicensed imported telephone devices, and having the intent to cause public unrest.

She faces up to 10 years in prison and disqualification from contesting polls if the court finds her guilty.

She also faces a charge for violating the Official Secrets Law, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The military has detained her at an unknown location after she spent several weeks under house arrest.

The military rulers say they were forced to oust the government following alleged electoral fraud in the elections last November in which Suu Kyi’s party scored a landslide victory, as it did in 2015.

International observers deny the fraud allegations, saying the polls were legitimate.

The coup sparked a civil disobedience movement and protests, drawing a brutal military response from the security forces against unarmed pro-democracy protesters, including children.

More than 1,000 people have died in the violence, figures from the monitoring group Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners show.

The military has arbitrarily arrested over 7,000 people protesting against the coup, the monitor says.

The indefinite strike has added to the worries about the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.

Myanmar has a total caseload of more than 298,000 coronavirus infections and 14,000 deaths, official figures show. EFE

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