Aung San Suu Kyi Testifies In Burmese Court As Lawyers Banned From Speaking About His Case

Aung San Suu Kyi Testifies In Burmese Court As Lawyers Banned From Speaking About His Case

Fallen Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi testified in court for the first time in one of many cases against her, but details of what she said were not available due to a gag order imposed on its lawyers.

As of last week, not all defense attorneys in Suu Kyi’s cases have been allowed to provide details of the court proceedings.

The action was taken under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a broad law from British colonial times intended to deal with emergencies that threaten public safety. There has been no sign of unrest related to any of his trials.

The only accounts of the proceedings previously came from lawyers defending her and her co-defendants. Court hearings are closed to journalists and the public, prosecutors do not comment on them, and state-controlled media did not report directly.

Major General Zaw Min Tun, spokesman for the military government, said earlier this month after the gag order was imposed on Suu Kyi’s top lawyer that it was imposed because he incited local media and foreigners to disseminate false information likely to destabilize the country.

A person familiar with the court process confirmed that Suu Kyi testified at the special session of the capital Naypyitaw court on Tuesday, but could not provide details. The source asked not to be identified for fear of legal action or harassment.

The court heard testimony related to the charge of incitement, sometimes referred to as sedition. The offense is defined as the dissemination of false or inflammatory information likely to disturb public order and is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.

Suu Kyi’s co-defendants in this case are Win Myint, who was president of his government, and the former mayor of Naypyitaw, Myo Aung.

Their lawyers tried several times but failed to have the incitement charge dropped.

The evidence submitted by the prosecution consists of statements posted on a Facebook page of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. Lawyers for Suu Kyi and Win Myint said they could not be held responsible for the statements – which criticized the takeover and suggested in general terms that it be resisted – as they were already in detention.

Suu Kyi has been in detention since February 1, when the military seized power and prevented her and her party from entering a second five-year term in office after a landslide victory in the general election last November. The military says it acted because there was widespread electoral fraud, an allegation that does not appear to be well substantiated.

Opposition to the military takeover is widespread and takes the form of peaceful civil disobedience as well as armed resistance. Security forces suppressed the first non-violent protests with lethal force, killing around 1,200 civilians according to a detailed list compiled by the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The government says fewer people have been killed in actions taken to restore order. The Foreign Office said in a recent statement that there were 986 terrorist attacks, 2,344 bombings and 312 arson attacks from February to the end of October.

Authorities are trying Suu Kyi on multiple criminal charges which her supporters and rights groups say are invented to discredit her and legitimize the military takeover.

Suu Kyi is also on trial by the same court on two counts of violating restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic during the 2020 election campaign, illegally importing walkie-talkies and unlicensed use of them. radios.

In separate proceedings, she is charged with bribery, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and breach of the Official Secrets Act, punishable by a maximum of 14 years.


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