Burma

Myanmar Junta Says Lawyers Can’t Send Cash to Detained Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

By The Irrawaddy 16 June 2021

The military regime has denied Daw Aung San Suu Kyi cash assistance sent by her lawyers, according to U Kyi Win, a member of her legal team.

During a court hearing in Naypyitaw on June 7, the detained State Counselor requested that her legal team help provide food for her and eight others detained with her, as they have been using their own money to buy food and are now short of cash and in need of medicines and other supplies.

She told her legal team that she did not want support from those detaining her and asked the lawyers to help if possible.

Her legal team sent her 5 million kyats (about US$3,000) via the police. At a court hearing on Tuesday, however, police returned the money to the legal team, saying cash assistance was not allowed.

“The police returned the money. In fact, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is just the accused and not a prisoner. She has not been convicted of any crime. I told the police that I would formally ask by letter [for permission] to send the cash,” U Kyi Win said.

The legal team also sent food, including rice and cooking oil, on June 8 via the police to the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) leader and those detained with her. However, it appeared there were some delays in forwarding the food package to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as she told her lawyers that some of the perishable items, including bread, were moldy.

At the court hearing, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi did not appear to be frustrated, but was keen to defend herself against the charges brought against her. She told her lawyers to be patient and mount a thorough defense.

The legal team was allowed to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, ousted President U Win Myint and ousted Naypyitaw Council chairman Dr. Myo Aung before the court hearing on Tuesday.

The junta has filed seven charges against the NLD leader, including two under Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law and one each under Article 8 of the Export and Import Law, Article 67 of the Telecommunications Law, Article 505(b) of the Penal Code (for sedition), the Official Secrets Act and the Anti-Corruption Law.

At Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors gave testimony in the Natural Disaster Management Law case against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and in the sedition cases against all three.

The three were charged with sedition over two statements allegedly issued by the NLD Central Executive Committee after their arrests.

“They have been detained since Feb. 1. How could they be involved in issuing those statements? It is unclear who released those statements. It is unlikely that the prosecution can submit strong evidence in that case,” a lawyer said.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team said they expect the trial to conclude by July 26, within six months of her arrest, because the five cases against her are “simple”.

Hearings are scheduled every Monday and Tuesday.

The sixth charge against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, under the Official Secrets Act, is due to be heard at the Union Supreme Court on June 23.


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