Conflicts & War

‘No witnesses for Suu Kyi due to military backlash fear’

Bangkok, Sep 29 (EFE).- Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is finding it difficult to find witnesses to testify in her favor because of a possible backlash from the military rulers, her lawyers have said.

The head of her legal team, Khin Maung Zaw, told Myanmar Now that he did not expect many witnesses to speak in favor of the Nobel peace laureate.

The military has accused Suu Kyi, deposed president Win Myint and former Naypyitaw mayor Myo Aung of committing a legal offense against the state.

Article 505(b) criminalizes the circulation of messages that cause “fear or alarm” and inciting someone to commit a crime against the state.

The charge entails up to two years in prison. Suu Kyi has already pleaded not guilty.

“No one will serve as her witness in the case because they will then be targeted (by the junta). We will not use many witnesses,” the lawyer said.

“These matters will only be based on legal facts.”

On Tuesday, a court in the capital Naypyitaw asked the defendants to submit a list of witnesses to testify on Oct.5

It is one of the several cases against Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy politicians the military has filed after seizing power in a coup on Feb.1.

The accusations are related to two statements sent by the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy on Feb.7 and 13, asking the international community not to recognize the coup plotters.

The military has also accused her of violating the Official Secrets Act, a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison, and corruption, including accepting bribes and abuse of power.

Suu Kyi has pleaded not guilty.

The United Nations, the European Union, and countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, among others, have called for her unconditional release.

The Myanmar junta justifies the coup, citing alleged electoral fraud in the November 2020 elections in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory.

International observers have cleared the polls as free and fair.

Since the coup, street protests have continued against the military junta across the country, while civil disobedience has paralyzed the administration and the private sector.

At least 1,114 people have lost their lives in violent repression of protests by security forces. Over 6,600 opponents are in detention, according to the Association for Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The coup has also intensified the ongoing armed conflict with new defense groups against the junta, many of them working under the umbrella of the opposition alternative government, consisting of former lawmakers and activists. EFE


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