Burma: opening of the first trial of former leader Aung San Suu Kyi



A court, closely guarded, was specially set up for this trial, in the capital Naypyidaw, built in the heart of the jungle in the 1990s by the former military regime.

Arrested on 1er February 2021 and since under house arrest, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate – ” in good health “, according to his lawyers, despite the weeks spent in solitary confinement – faces a motley lawsuit: illegal importation of walkie-talkies, failure to comply with restrictions related to the coronavirus and violation of a telecommunications law.

“The court will hear witnesses for the prosecution. Aung San Suu Kyi will not speak today ” (Monday), said one of his lawyers, Khin Maung Zaw. In a second procedure, she will appear from Tuesday, June 15 for sedition alongside the former President of the Republic Win Myint.

→ READ Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi heavily accused by the authorities

The former de facto head of government, aged 75, is also charged with violating a colonial-era state secrets law and with corruption, accused of having received more than half a million dollars and ten kilos of gold in bribes. No trial date has been brought forward at this stage for these two charges, the heaviest against him.

Long years in prison

Aung San Suu Kyi faces long years in prison if found guilty. The head of the junta “Min Aung Hlaing is determined to lock him up for the rest of his life”, lamented Debbie Stothard, coordinator of the Alternative Asean network. “We are going to attend a show procedure solely motivated by political reasons. “

The former leader was only allowed to meet twice with the legal team tasked with defending her. Each meeting could not exceed about thirty minutes.

To justify its passage in force, the army has alleged fraud “Huge” in the legislative elections of November 2020, won overwhelmingly by the National League for Democracy (LND) of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Burmese generals are threatening to dissolve this formation and have indicated that they want to organize new elections within two years.

A country in turmoil

Almost daily demonstrations, economy paralyzed by massive strikes, resurgence of clashes between the army and rebel ethnic factions: Burma has been in turmoil since the putsch of 1er February 2021 which ended a 10-year democratic parenthesis.

The protest movement is bloodily suppressed by the security forces who have killed more than 860 civilians in recent months, including women and children, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP).

→ ANALYSIS In Burma, the military junta imposes “white terror”

Nearly 5,000 people have been taken into custody, with NGOs denouncing cases of extrajudicial executions, torture or violence against women. The head of human rights at the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, on Friday (June 11) deplored the intensification of violence, adding that the junta was “Fully responsible for this crisis”.

The abuses prompted many opponents of the junta to form a “People’s Defense Force” (PDF), made up of civilians retaliating against security forces with homemade weapons. But these citizen militias find it difficult to compete with the army, which has very significant resources.

Aung San Suu Kyi has already spent more than 15 years under house arrest under previous military dictatorships, before being released in 2010 and taking the head of the country five years later.

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