Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi testifies in court but gag order prevents her defense from being made public – .

Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi testifies in court but gag order prevents her defense from being made public – .

His testimony in the courtroom in the capital Naypyidaw, however, was not accessible to the public due to a gag order imposed on his legal team by the military junta.

The 76-year-old Nobel Laureate was testifying at her trial on one of the many charges against her. She had pleaded not guilty to the incitement charge last month, alongside ousted President Win Myint, whose Oct. 12 testimony challenged the military’s insistence that no coup should have taken place. occurred.

This accusation stems from letters bearing their names that were sent to embassies urging them not to recognize the junta.

Suu Kyi, who was Myanmar’s state councilor and the country’s de facto leader, has faced a slew of criminal charges that could lead to decades in jail if convicted.

They include several corruption charges – carrying a maximum prison sentence of 15 years – of violating restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic during the 2020 election campaign, of illegally importing and possessing talkies – walkies and breaking the colonial-era Official Secrets Act – which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Myanmar state media – the junta’s spokesperson – did not report on Tuesday’s court proceedings and the hearings are closed to journalists and the public. The gag order imposed on Suu Kyi’s legal team means that there is hardly any possibility left for the world to know how her trial is going or her health.

In September, Suu Kyi appeared “dizzy” when she heard the charges and was deemed too ill to appear in court. In early October, his lawyer asked the court that hearings for each case be held every two weeks rather than weekly, due to concerns the busy schedule had over his health, according to Reuters.

A military spokesperson did not respond to CNN’s calls for comment.

Local Myanmar Now media reported that Suu Kyi “may well have stood up for his innocence”. CNN cannot independently verify the report.

Suu Kyi and his ruling National League for Democracy party were overthrown when the military seized power in a February 1 coup, apparently due to alleged electoral irregularities. Since then, she has been held in an undisclosed location in the capital. Her lawyers and supporters believe the charges against her are politically motivated.

During his testimony last week, Win Myint, who was Myanmar’s head of state, told the court that senior military officials approached him on February 1 and told him to resign due to health concerns. .

Win Myint said he declined the offer, saying he was in good health, according to his lawyer. Officers then threatened his decision “would cause harm,” but Win Myint said he would rather die than consent, the lawyer told CNN.

The gag order on the lawyers of Suu Kyi and Win Myint was imposed following this hearing.

ASEAN snubs over continued violence

Tuesday also marked the first day of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Brunei. The summit began without a representative from Myanmar after the bloc ruled out Gen. Min Aung Hlaing from attending due to a failure to end the violence, allow humanitarian aid in the country and provide access to an emissary from ASEAN.

Myanmar has been rocked by violence, unrest and humanitarian crises since the army, led by Min Aung Hlaing, took power more than eight months ago.

In August, Min Aung Hlaing declared himself prime minister of a newly formed interim government and said elections would be held by 2023.

But there remains widespread public opposition to the junta. The months following the coup were marked by bloodshed and widespread violence as the junta clamped down on nationwide pro-democracy protests, a protracted movement of civil disobedience, and growing conflict with the “forces”. defense of the people ”who take up arms against the forces of the junta.

Almost 1,200 people have been killed by security forces since the coup and nearly 9,200 have been arrested – including journalists, activists, protesters and anyone considered to be opposed to the military – with credible reports of torture, according to a human rights and human rights group. Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.

Last week, the military announced it was releasing 5,600 prisoners held during protests against the coup. But dozens of political prisoners were re-arrested moments after their release, according to human rights groups and eyewitnesses.

The junta also challenged the number of people killed since the coup and blamed the violence on the Government of National Unity (NUG) – which operates mostly from overseas or undercover and sees itself as Myanmar’s legitimate government – and various ethnic armed organizations, which he termed “terrorist groups”.

Cape Diamond contributed reporting.


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