YANGON—A lawyer for detained Myanmar leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said he hasn’t yet been able to meet her and obtain the power of attorney required to represent her in court, and feared that she would be “deprived of her right to legal counsel”, as her next hearing will be held early next week.
After the coup on Feb. 1, the Myanmar military regime arrested the State Counselor and sued her on two obscure charges relating to possessing walkie-talkies and breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
She has been remanded in custody. The state counselor said during a hearing last week that she wanted a lawyer to represent her in court.
However, her lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw told The Irrawaddy on Monday that he hasn’t yet obtained power of attorney from her. He said he had submitted all the necessary paperwork to the relevant authorities since Feb. 16 for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s signature. Her next hearing is scheduled on Monday.
“But up to now, we haven’t got that power of attorney from her. If we don’t have that power of attorney, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be deprived of her rights to stand with legal counsel,” said the lawyer.
U Khin Maung Zaw said that unless the paperwork was done in two or three days, he won’t be allowed to attend the court as her legal adviser, meaning Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would be tried at the next hearing without a lawyer to defend her.
The lawyer said his application to have a meeting with his client had also fallen on deaf ears.
“As lawyer and client, criminal law procedure requires [that I] receive her instructions, and it is also the pre-trial right of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a defendant,” he said.
The military regime initially sued her under the Export and Import Law, accusing her of possessing illegally imported walkie-talkies. The charge carries up to three years’ imprisonment. During her most recent hearing, they slapped her with one more charge under the Natural Disaster Management Law, probably for breaching COVID-19 restrictions during the election campaign. If found guilty, she would face another three years’ imprisonment.
People across the country have taken to the streets for more than two weeks to demand her release and an end to the military dictatorship.
On Tuesday, foreign ministers of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US) and the high representative of the EU reiterated their call for “the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.” The G7 said it continued to stand with the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy and freedom, condemning the coup.
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