Myanmar's Suu Kyi dizzy and drowsy, skips court appearance

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi felt ill, having not travelled in a vehicle for a long time, said her lawyer.
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi felt ill, having not travelled in a vehicle for a long time, said her lawyer. PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (REUTERS) - Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was unable to appear at a court hearing on Monday (Sept 13) for health reasons, a member of her legal team said, describing her condition as dizziness caused by motion sickness.

Ms Suu Kyi, 76, who has been detained on various charges since her overthrow in a Feb 1 military coup, did not have the coronavirus but felt ill, having not travelled in a vehicle for a long time, lawyer Min Min Soe said.

The popular Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent about half of the past three decades in various forms of detention over her non-violent struggle against dictatorship, and her health is closely watched.

"It is not serious sickness... She suffered car sickness. She cannot stand that feeling and told us she wanted to take a rest," Mr Min Min Soe told Reuters.

Ms Suu Kyi's only communication with the outside world has been through her legal team, which says its access to her is limited and monitored by the authorities.

She is due to appear in court on Tuesday. Contacted again on Monday evening, Mr Min Min Soe said the legal team had no access to determine Ms Suu Kyi's latest condition, but reiterated that her sickness was only minor.

A spokesman for the ruling military did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Ms Suu Kyi is on trial in the capital Naypyitaw over charges that include illegal importation and possession of walkie-talkie radios and violating coronavirus protocols.

She has been accused of accepting big bribes, and has been charged with unspecified breaches of the Official Secrets Act in a separate and more serious case, which is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

Her lawyers reject all of the allegations.

Mr Khin Maung Zaw, who heads her legal team, said Ms Suu Kyi could not take the stand on Monday and the judge consented to her absence.

"She seemed to be ill, sneezing, and said she was drowsy.

"Therefore the lawyers talked only briefly with her," he said in a text message.