Suu Kyi set to go on trial next week; charges include violating OSA

NAYPYIDAW • The trial of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will begin next week, her lawyer told Agence France-Presse yesterday, with the Nobel Peace laureate facing an eclectic raft of charges - from possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies to flouting coronavirus restrictions during last year's election campaign.

Myanmar has been in uproar since Ms Suu Kyi's government was ousted in a Feb 1 coup, with near-daily protests and a civil disobedience movement.

Almost 850 people have been killed by the military, according to a local monitoring group.

The junta has hit Ms Suu Kyi, 75, with a string of criminal charges. The most serious alleges that she violated the country's Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Her trial will start on June 14 and is expected to wrap up by July 26, according to her legal team. Her lawyers have been allowed to meet her just twice since she was placed under house arrest, with weeks of delays to her legal case.

"We will get testimonies from plaintiffs and witnesses starting from (the) next hearing," her lawyer Min Min Soe said after meeting Ms Suu Kyi in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday.

There was a heavy police presence around the Naypyidaw council compound, close to where the court is located, with roadblocks along streets leading to the area, an AFP reporter said.

Ms Min Min Soe added that Ms Suu Kyi "asked all (people) to stay in good health".

Ms Suu Kyi spent more than 15 years under house arrest during the previous military rule before her 2010 release and rise to power in elections held five years later.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has justified his power grab by citing alleged electoral fraud in the November polls, which Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide.

The junta has previously said it would hold fresh elections within two years, but has also threatened to dissolve the NLD.

Envoys from Asean have called on the junta to free all political prisoners and discussed implementing a regional "consensus" to end turmoil since the Feb 1 coup, the regional bloc said.

Myanmar's junta has shown little sign of heeding April's five-point agreement among the 10 Asean countries, which include Myanmar, calling for an end to violence, political talks and the naming of a regional special envoy.

Meanwhile, Asean envoys had a meeting with Mr Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw last Friday.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said the meeting covered "implementation of the recommendation of initial survey of Asean" and "terror acts" by junta opponents as well as the army's plan to hold elections.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2021, with the headline 'Suu Kyi set to go on trial next week; charges include violating OSA'. Subscribe