Conflicts & War

Suu Kyi hearing delayed due to internet issues after deadly anti-coup unrest

Bangkok, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- A Myanmar court Monday adjourned the virtual hearing of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi due to technical issues related to internet connectivity blocked by military rulers after days of deadly protests that have left 126 people dead since the Feb.1 coup.

Sui Kyi’s lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said the third hearing of the trial by video conferencing of the Nobel laureate, arrested on the coup day, was postponed until Mar. 24.

Since her arrest, Suu Kyi, 75, has been left incommunicado.

She has been charged with four crimes like taking a bribe, having unlicensed imported telephone devices, violating coronavirus restrictions, and intent to raise alarm and cause public unrest.

Conviction in the cases would carry prison terms for Suu Kyi, a former State Councilor and foreign minister, who spent a total of 15 years under house arrest during the days of dictatorship in Myanmar.

The delay in the hearing comes as watchdog NetBlocks on Monday said the military junta had snapped internet connectivity for mobile phones and restricted it for fixed-line facilities.

While WiFi connectivity was restored at 6:30 am after the usual night-time internet outage, data transmission on mobile phones remains blocked across the country, according to the organization.

“Despite the restoration of observable internet connectivity in #Myanmar, analysis of cellular networks reveals that mobile networks remain disabled nationwide,” NetBlocks said on Twitter.

“Most users rely on cell phones for their day to day work, and at protests,” it added.

Several Twitter users confirmed that internet access has been blocked on mobile phones, including Burmese actress and activist May Toe Khine.

The country has been battling the deadliest of protests since Feb.1 when the military toppled an elected government and declared an emergency for one year.

The military rulers said they were forced to oust the government following alleged electoral fraud in the elections last November.

Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide in the polls that were described as legitimate by international observers.

A total of 126 people have lost their lives in violent crackdowns on protests against the coup.

At least 38 people were killed on Sunday, according to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Most of the deaths on Sunday occurred in Yangon, the country’s most populated city and former capital, where security forces fired live ammunition at protesters in at least nine neighborhoods.

Deaths were also recorded on Sunday in other cities in the country, including Bago, Mandalay, and Hpakant, from shots fired by security forces.

On Sunday night, the military junta announced on state-run broadcaster MRTV that martial law was imposed in Hlaing Thar Yar.

Several factories in the district were burnt down on Sunday, according to the Myanmar Labour News website.

China’s embassy in Myanmar said on its Facebook page that some of the factories that were destroyed were Chinese businesses and urged the authorities to arrest the perpetrators and guarantee the safety of Chinese companies and staff.

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