Burma

Ousted Myanmar Leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Court Hearing Delayed

By The Irrawaddy 15 March 2021

Ousted civilian leader State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s latest court hearing was cancelled on Monday due to a nationwide internet shutdown across the country. The military regime cut mobile internet connectivity from Sunday night, although some broadband connections were still accessible on Monday.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was detained along with other members of the democratically-elected government by the junta when it seized power in a Feb. 1 coup. The State Counselor led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a landslide victory in last November’s election, but the military regime claims the poll was marred by fraud.

The military’s governing body, the State Administrative Council, has opened a total of four cases against her at a Naypyitaw Court, which was ordered to hear them via video conferencing.

“The video conference was not held today because there was no internet access,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw told reporters.

At the previous court hearing, Zabuthiri Township Court decided that the next hearing would be delayed until Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had been able to hire lawyers to defend her.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi faces four charges. Two of them, Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law and Section 8 of the Export and Import Law, were filed soon after her arrest. The military accuse her of interacting with a crowd during the coronavirus pandemic and possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and other foreign equipment that was allegedly found in her villa compound.

Two additional charges—Section 67 of the Telecommunications Law in connection with the telecommunication equipment allegedly found in her villa compound and Section 505(b) of the Penal Code accusing her of sedition—were filed in early March.

On Monday at the court, police said that only two of the group of lawyers led by lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw would be granted the power of attorney to defend Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Police said they would arrange power of attorney for only two young lawyers in my team. We will make sure they get the power of attorney at the next court hearing on March 24,” said U Khin Maung Zaw.

At her previous court hearing, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she would like to meet her lawyers U Khin Maung Zaw and U Kyi Win in person, and the NLD central executive committee has also recommended the two to defend their leader, said U Khin Maung Zaw.

“The United Nations Human Rights Declaration, which the world has acknowledged and our country has ratified explicitly, says everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to have all the guarantees necessary for his or her defense. That right is being robbed now,” said U Khin Maung Zaw.

The court hearing of ousted President U Win Myint was also not held Monday.

At least 166 people have been killed by the security forces during crackdowns on anti-regime protests as of Monday afternoon.

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