Myanmar’s Ousted Civilian Leader Suu Kyi and President Deny COVID-19 Charges

By The Irrawaddy 11 October 2021

Myanmar’s detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint have pleaded not guilty to breaching COVID-19 rules during the 2020 election campaign.

Both were charged under Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law on Monday for allegedly violating coronavirus restrictions while campaigning for the National League for Democracy (NLD), according to their legal team. The charge carries up to three years in prison.

The charge against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi cited her visit to the homes of NLD members in Zabuthiri Township, Naypyitaw, in August last year saying a crowd gathered as a result which breached the ban on gatherings of more than 30 people.

U Win Myint is accused of violating restrictions by greeting a 220-vehicle NLD motorcade at the gate of his presidential residence during the election campaign.

U Kyi Win, one of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, told The Irrawaddy that both leaders denied the accusations at the court on Monday.

The lawyer added that a request made by Daw Aung San Suu to reduce the frequency of her court hearings was denied.

The 76-year-old asked for her court sessions to be held every two weeks rather than every week on health grounds.

In the 2020 general election, the NLD won a landslide. Both international and domestic observers said the election was largely free and fair with no major irregularities.

The military took control on Feb. 1 after arresting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Win Myint and other NLD leaders, claiming the party cheated in the election. The junta subsequently annulled the election results.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint have been kept at undisclosed locations and face several charges. The junta has brought 11 charges against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and two against U Win Myint.

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