Aung San Suu Kyi urges Myanmar to stay 'united'

Aung San Suu Kyi has been hit with an eclectic raft of charges and could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on all counts.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been hit with an eclectic raft of charges and could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on all counts.PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP) - Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked the people of Myanmar to stay "united" in the face of military rule, her lawyers said on Tuesday (June 29), as she reappeared in a junta court.

The Nobel laureate has been under house arrest since a February coup that sparked huge pro-democracy protests the junta has tried to crush with deadly force.

Invisible to the outside world bar a handful of courtroom appearances, Ms Suu Kyi, 76, has been hit with an eclectic raft of charges. She could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on all counts.

On Tuesday, she heard testimony that she flouted coronavirus restrictions during the elections her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide last year, her lawyer Min Min Soe told reporters.

"She asked the people to stay united and be consistent," she added.

The specially convened court in the capital Naypyidaw also heard testimony on a separate charge of sedition, although her legal team argued two documents submitted by the prosecution were inadmissible as they were unsigned.

Former president Win Myint and senior NLD leader Myo Aung are also on trial for sedition and appeared beside Ms Suu Kyi on Tuesday.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since ouster of Ms Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero General Aung San, with huge protests, renewed clashes between the military and ethnic rebel armies in border regions and an economy in free fall.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has justified his power grab by citing alleged electoral fraud in the November poll won by the NLD.

The military has cracked down brutally on dissent - shooting protesters, arresting suspected dissidents in night raids, shutting down news outlets and rounding up journalists.

More than 880 civilians have been killed, according to a local monitoring group.