Trial against Aung San Suu Kyi underway in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi faces more than a decade in jail if convicted of all charges (AP/Picture Alliance)

More than four months after a military coup, Myanmar's former leader Aung San Suu Kyi's trial began on Monday in the capital, Naypyidaw.

Suu Kyi would be barred from running for office if she was convicted of a crime.

Following last year's landslide election victory, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) was denied a second five-year term due to her indictment.

Officials from the army have also threatened to dissolve the NLD over allegations of electoral fraud.

Charges against Aung Sann Sui Kyi

The 75-year-old is suspected of breaking coronavirus restrictions and possessing unregistered walkie-talkies while campaigning for the election she won last November.

She is also charged with intent to instigate, breaching the official secrets act, and collecting $600,000 (€495,000) and 11.4 kilos (25 pounds) of gold from Yangon's previous chief minister.

On Tuesday, a new trial against her is set to begin. Suu Kyi and the deposed president, Win Myint, are accused of inciting public disorder in this trial.

Suu Kyi's legal team has vehemently rejected any wrongdoing on her part.

According to her counsel, the first trial will last until the end of July.

Before the hearing, one of Suu Kyi's lawyers, Khin Maung Zaw, told French news agency AFP, "We are praying for the best but prepared for the worst."

She faces a sentence of more than a decade in prison if she is found guilty of all charges.

Prosecutors from the government have until June 28 to complete their presentation. According to Zaw, Suu Kyi's defense team will have till July 26 to submit their case.

Each week, court proceedings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Reactions to the trial around the world

The allegations against Suu Kyi were labeled "bogus and politically driven" by Human Rights Watch, with the goal of stopping her from standing for government again.

"This trial is certainly the first shot in a larger campaign to delegitimize Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy as a movement capable of challenging military authority in the future," said Phil Robertson, the organization's deputy Asia director.

It was called a "show trial" by Debbie Stothard, coordinator of the Alternative ASEAN Network on Myanmar.

"Min Aung Hlaing is hell-bent on imprisoning Aung San Suu Kyi for the rest of her days. She told AFP that if the army leader could, he would "definitely charge her under every law known."

Takeover by the military

The military seized power on February 1 after the government failed to properly investigate suspected voting irregularities, bringing an end to a 10-year period of democratic reform in the Southeast Asian country.

The junta has stated that new elections will be held within the next year or two, but it has a history of promising elections but failing to deliver.

Since the coup, 5,965 people have been arrested, according to the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an activist organization outlawed by the junta. 4,804 of them are still being held in prisons, interrogation facilities, or under house arrest.

According to the AAPP, at least 860 people have been slain, with 22 of them dying as a result of torture while in jail.

Publish : 2021-06-14 15:12:00

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