Aung San Suu Kyi Makes First Court Appearance Since Coup


For the primary time since Myanmar’s army locked her up in a pre-dawn raid as a part of its coup on Feb. 1, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the chief of Myanmar’s ousted civilian authorities, was seen in particular person on Monday when she sat briefly at a court docket listening to.

The quick look at a particular court docket in Naypyidaw, the Southeast Asian nation’s capital, was additionally the primary time that the majority of her authorized crew had caught a glimpse of their well-known shopper. They’ve been defending her towards a raft of legal prices that the United Nations and international governments say are clearly politically motivated. A lot of the nation’s elected management has been jailed.

In a 30-minute assembly along with her attorneys earlier than the listening to, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who had beforehand appeared by video hyperlink, appeared wholesome and resolute, if unclear about simply how Myanmar had modified because the coup, a member of her authorized crew mentioned. Because the putsch, the army has imposed a reign of terror, isolating the nation as soon as extra from the worldwide group.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was decided to defend the integrity of her political social gathering, the Nationwide League for Democracy, or N.L.D., her attorneys mentioned.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi mentioned that the N.L.D. is the social gathering of the individuals, and the social gathering will exist so long as the individuals exist,” Daw Min Min Soe, a member of her authorized crew, mentioned.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent the higher a part of twenty years locked up by Myanmar’s generals for her marketing campaign for democracy, has been charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies, breaching coronavirus rules and contravening the Official Secrets and techniques Act, amongst different crimes. Army-linked forces have additionally accused her of accepting baggage of money and 25 kilos of gold, though she has not been formally charged on these counts.

If she is discovered responsible of the costs — and Myanmar’s courts have a file of delivering responsible verdicts in political instances — Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, could possibly be imprisoned for the remainder of her life.

Though Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was initially held at her villa in Naypyidaw, she was moved to an undisclosed location every week later, blindfolded whereas in transit, her lawyer mentioned.

“She doesn’t know the place she resides now,” Ms. Min Min Soe mentioned. “She doesn’t know something about what is occurring outdoors.”

Though court docket proceedings towards Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi have been underway for months, a number of hearings had been canceled on the final second due to web blackouts imposed by the junta. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, a few of the hearings had been speculated to happen by video hyperlink.

Her subsequent scheduled court docket date is June 7.

On Friday, an election official put in by the junta that seized energy in February blasted Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nationwide League for Democracy as a breeding floor of “traitors” and mentioned the social gathering could be investigated and probably dissolved. It’s not clear when such a dissolution may happen.

Final November, the Nationwide League for Democracy once more trounced the army’s proxy political social gathering in nationwide elections. The lopsided end result appeared to blindside some members of the army, regardless that the league had accomplished the identical 5 years earlier than when it started sharing energy with the military.

When the army, often known as the Tatmadaw, staged its coup in February, it promised to carry elections inside a 12 months. The timetable was then prolonged to 2 years. Now, the nation is going through the prospect of an election at an indeterminate level sooner or later with out the social gathering that received probably the most votes from residents.

The army says that the elections final 12 months had been fraudulent, a cost dismissed by worldwide observers and by a nationwide election fee that was disbanded after the coup.

“The N.L.D. can’t be dissolved by power and orders as a result of it’s already the social gathering within the hearts of the individuals,” mentioned U Aung Kyi Nyunt, a spokesman for the social gathering. “Abolition by way of unlawful energy won’t succeed. The N.L.D. will survive and stay robust in Myanmar’s political historical past.”

Over the weekend within the nation’s borderlands, ethnic armed teams claimed that that they had killed dozens of Tatmadaw troopers in offensives, at the same time as the military’s shelling claimed lives of civilians sheltering in a church in japanese Myanmar. Within the large cities, together with Yangon and Mandalay, protesters organized flash mobs of dissent, scattering rapidly as safety forces drew close to.

Greater than 800 individuals have been killed by safety forces because the coup, in accordance with a monitoring group, many shot within the head whereas peacefully protesting. Greater than 4,200 have been detained.

Amongst them is U Thein Hlaing Tun, a lawyer representing one other of Myanmar’s jailed elected leaders. He was arrested on Monday as he tried to fulfill along with his shopper on the similar particular court docket in Naypyidaw the place Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi appeared.

Mr. Thein Hlaing Tun was charged with violating a bit of the penal code criminalizing perceived slights towards the Tatmadaw.

“That’s all we find out about his arrest,” Ms. Min Min Soe mentioned.



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