Thursday, June 8, 2023

Myanmar court postpones latest Aung San Suu Kyi verdict

Aung San Suu Kyi

Bangkok, December 20: A Myanmar court on Monday postponed the issuing of verdicts in the latest of a series of cases against the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a legal official knowledgeable about the case said.
The postponed verdict from the court in the capital, Naypyitaw, is for the second among multiple cases brought against the 76-year-old Nobel laureate since the army seized power on Feb. 1, ousting her elected government and arresting top members of her National League for Democracy party.
No reason was given for the postponement, according to a legal official who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities, who have restricted the release of information about Suu Kyi’s trials.
She is accused of importing and possessing walkie-talkies without following official procedures.
The radios that are the focus of the case were seized from the entrance gate of her residence and the barracks of her bodyguards during a search on Feb. 1, the day she was arrested.
The charge under the Export-Import Law of having improperly imported the walkies-talkies was the first filed against her and served as the initial justification for her continued detention. The charge of illegally possessing the radios was filed the following month.
Suu Kyi’s lawyers argued that the radios were not in her personal possession and were legitimately used to help provide for her security, but the court declined to dismiss the charges against her.
Suu Kyi on Dec. 6 was convicted on two other charges, incitement and breaching COVID-19 restrictions, for which she was sentenced to a total of four year’s imprisonment. The head of the military-installed government, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, reduced the sentence by half after it was issued by giving her a partial pardon.
Suu Kyi’s supporters and rights groups say the cases against her have been contrived by the military to discredit her and end her political career while justifying its takeover. If found guilty of all the charges she faces, Suu Kyi could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.
February’s seizure of power was met by nonviolent nationwide demonstrations, which security forces quashed with deadly force. More than 1,300 civilians have been killed, according to a detailed tally compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Peaceful protests have continued, but armed resistance has also grown under the severe crackdown, to the point that U.N. experts have warned the country may be sliding into civil war. (AP)