By TASSANEE VEJPONGSA – Associated Press
BANGKOK (AP) – A military-controlled Myanmar court on Monday deferred verdicts on two charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused of importing and detaining walkie-talkies without following official procedures , said a legal official familiar with the matter. noted.
The case in court in the capital, Naypyitaw, is one of many lawsuits against the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate since the military took power on February 1, toppling her elected government and arresting key members of its National League for Democracy. party.
The court gave no reason to delay the verdicts until Jan. 10, according to the legal official, who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities, who restricted the release of information about the victims. Suu Kyi trial.
Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide general election victory last year, but the military said there was widespread voter fraud, a claim independent observers doubt.
Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent analysts say all charges against her are politically motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military takeover while preventing her from returning to politics . If she is found guilty of all the charges she faces, she could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.
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Suu Kyi was convicted on December 6 of two more counts – incitement and violation of COVID-19 restrictions – and sentenced to four years in prison. Hours after the sentence was handed down, the head of government installed by the army, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, reduced it to half. She is being held by the military in an unknown location and state television has announced that she will serve her sentence there.
Suu Kyi attended the court hearings in prison attire – a white top and a long brown skirt provided by the authorities. Hearings are closed to media and spectators and prosecutors are silent. His lawyers, who had been a source of information on the proceedings, received gag orders in October.
A charge under the Export and Import Act of improperly importing the walkie-talkies was the first level brought against Suu Kyi and served as the initial justification for her continued detention. A second charge of illegal possession of radios was filed the following month.
The radios were seized at the gate of his residence and at the barracks of his bodyguards during a search on February 1, the day of his arrest.
Suu Kyi’s attorneys argued that the radios were not in her personal possession and that they were legitimately used to ensure her safety, but the court refused to dismiss the charges.
The court also heard video testimony on Monday from Suu Kyi’s party vice president Zaw Myint Maung in another case against her involving an alleged violation of COVID-19 restrictions during last year’s election campaign. , said the legal officer.
Zaw Myint Maung, who had been unable to appear in court earlier due to health reasons, testified that people gathered to see her when she visited Shwe Kyar Pin Ward during the campaign because ‘they’re respecting it, and it wasn’t a violation of virus restrictions, the official said.
The offense falls under the Natural Disaster Management Act and the maximum penalty is three years in prison and a fine.
She is also being tried by the same tribunal on five counts of corruption. The maximum penalty for each count is 15 years in prison and a fine. A sixth corruption charge, in which Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint are accused of granting licenses to hire and purchase a helicopter, has yet to be tried.
In separate proceedings, she is accused of breaking the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years.
Additional charges were also added by Myanmar’s Election Commission against Suu Kyi and 15 other politicians in November for alleged fraud in last year’s elections. Charges by the military-controlled Union Election Commission could lead to the dissolution of Suu Kyi’s party and the inability to participate in a new election that the military has promised to be held within two years. its takeover.
The army’s seizure of power was met with non-violent nationwide protests, which security forces cracked down on with lethal force, killing nearly 1,400 civilians, according to a detailed list compiled by the Association of assistance to political prisoners.
Peaceful protests continued, but amid the harsh crackdown, armed resistance also grew, to the point that UN experts warned the country could slide into civil war.
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