Conflicts & War

Suu Kyi to make first in-person court appearance since Myanmar coup

Update 1: Adds information about Suu Kyi’s court appearance

Bangkok, May 24 (EFE).- Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday appeared in person for the first time before a special court in Naypyitaw that is trying her for a series of alleged crimes committed prior to the military coup on Feb. 1, her lawyers told media.

The ousted State Counselor and Foreign Minister, under house arrest in Myanmar’s capital city since the coup and had not been seen in public ever since, was also able to meet with her lawyers in person for the first time.

The hearing held on Monday morning is part of a trial in which the Nobel Peace Prize laureate faces five charges, including having unlicensed imported telephone devices, violating coronavirus restrictions, and intent to raise alarm and cause public unrest.

The military junta beefed up security in the Myanmar capital ahead of the hearing, which lasted about 30 minutes and took place in a special court set up in the government’s office in Naypyitaw.

Before the hearing, the Myanmar politician was able to meet for half an hour with her lawyers, with whom she had previously had contact only via video conference and without being able to talk about other matters pertaining to the country, Frontier Myanmar reported.

Suu Kyi, who appears to be well, according to her lawyers, said “she was praying for everyone to get well.”

The overthrown leader also defended the legitimacy of the National League for Democracy party, which she led in the November elections, and which the military accuses of electoral fraud, the military’s main justification for seizing power.

Myanmar’s military-appointed Election Commission announced on Friday that it would dissolve the National League for Democracy party for committing electoral fraud in the November elections and prosecute its leaders, including Suu Kyi, as “traitors.”

“She said the party was formed for the people, so it will exist as long as the people exist,” her lawyer, Min Min Soe, told Frontier Myanmar.

Suu Kyi also faces another trial, which was moved to the Supreme Court last week, in which she has been charged with allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act, the most serious charge she has faced since the coup and that carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.

The Myanmar people on Monday continued to express their rejection of the military junta in protests and demand the release of all those detained, including Suu Kyi, as well as the restoration of democracy.

At least 818 people have been killed as a result of a brutal crackdown by security forces against peaceful anti-coup protests while more than almost 5,400 people have been detained by the military, according to figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group. EFE


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