Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Myanmar Sets October 1 for Corruption Trial of Aung San Suu Kyi | Aung San Suu Kyi News

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Supporters of the deposed civilian leader say the charges against her are politically motivated and are an attempt to discredit her.

The trial of Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on corruption charges will begin on October 1, a member of her legal team said.

Lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said on Friday that a judge declared that the trial would take place at the Special Court in the capital Naypyidaw every other Friday.

He announced the decision after court appearances by Aung San Suu Kyi attorneys and prosecutors from the central city of Mandalay, where the charges were originally filed.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since the National League for Democracy (NLD) government was deposed by the army in a February coup that sparked a mass uprising and a brutal crackdown on dissent. She is currently being tried on other charges by the Special Court.

Images of Aung San Suu Kyi shown during a protest against the military coup in Yangon on March 18 [File: EPA]

In the ongoing trial, she faces charges of sedition, two counts of disobeying COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, illegally importing walkie-talkies that were for use by her bodyguards, and unlicensed use of radios.

She will also be on trial for violating the official secrets law in a case that was transferred earlier this week to Naypyidaw from Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

His lawyers deny any wrongdoing.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters, as well as independent analysts, say that all the charges against her are politically motivated and are an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s takeover of power and prevent her from returning to politics.

A nationwide anti-coup uprising and ongoing unrest have paralyzed the country.

More than 1,100 people died and some 8,000 were arrested, according to a local watchdog group. The military says the number of victims is much lower.

The military ruler, Major General Min Aung Hlaing, said last month that elections would be held and the state of emergency would be lifted in August 2023, extending an initial one-year deadline announced days after the February 1 coup.

Faced with 5 cases of corruption

Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, has been indicted in five cases under the anti-corruption law: four by the Mandalay Region High Court, which will now be tried in Naypyidaw, and one by the Yangon Region High Court.

The Mandalay cases include two under section 55 of the law, which states that a political official convicted of corruption can be punished by up to 15 years in prison and a fine.

In the other two Mandalay cases, Aung San Suu Kyi was named a co-defendant with political colleagues, including former Naypyidaw Mayor Myo Aung, under Section 63 for allegedly conspiring to carry out acts of corruption. It bears the same penalty.

Details have not been officially released on the Yangon case, for which a trial date has not yet been set.

A photo taken on May 24 shows the detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the detained President Win Myint (right) during their first court appearance in Naypyidaw. [File: Myanmar Ministry of Information/AFP]
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