Detained NLD No. 2 to Testify as Defense Witness in Trial of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi
By The Irrawaddy 10 November 2021
A special court hearing charges filed by the military regime against Myanmar’s detained de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave permission to one of her right-hand men to testify as a witness on her behalf later this month.
Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, Mandalay chief minister under the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government and one of the party’s vice chairmen, was named by the State Counselor’s legal team on Tuesday as a defense witness in her trial for violating COVID-19 restrictions—one of 11 charges filed against her by the regime. The former chief minister, who has been battling leukemia, has been detained by the junta at Obo Prison in Mandalay since the coup in February.
Sources close to the legal team said, “The judge accepted Dr. Zaw Myint Maung as witness in the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi trial.”
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged by the regime with violating Section 25 of the disaster management law over her community visit to Shwe Kyar Pin Ward in Zabuthiri Township in Naypyitaw ahead of last year’s election. Dr. Zaw Myint Maung was present during the visit.
He is scheduled to testify on Nov. 23.
Both sides will make their closing arguments on Dec. 7 and the court will deliver its verdict on Dec. 14.
Dr. Zaw Myint Maung and President U Win Myint are widely known as the two right-hand men of NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The two were appointed to share the party’s No. 2 spot, below party Chairwoman Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in March 2018. U Win Myint has also been detained by the junta since the first day of the coup.
As State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint are constitutionally barred from being involved in the party’s activities, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung had taken the lead on party functions.
Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, 69, was jailed for 19 years for his political activism under the previous military regime. After his release in 2009, he became a member of the NLD Central Executive Committee.
He is also a three-time elected lawmaker, elected in the 1990 election, the 2012 by-election and the 2015 general election, each time representing the NLD in constituencies in Mandalay.
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