Burma

Suu Kyi Testifies Against Myanmar Junta’s Incitement Charges

By The Irrawaddy 26 October 2021

Detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has testified for the first time since the Feb. 1 coup at a court in Naypyitaw on Tuesday.

However, details of her testimony are unknown as Myanmar’s junta barred her legal team from speaking to the media about the trial.

The junta imposed gagging orders against all five of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, also barring them from speaking to foreign diplomats or international organizations directly and indirectly.

The order against chief lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw came after he gave details of President U Win Myint’s testimony, where he said the military threatened him to make him resign during the coup. The president said he refused the demand.

The president’s account of his detention confirmed the illegality of the coup and was widely reported internationally.

Another of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers who regularly spoke to the media was barred three days before the 76-year-old’s testimony.

The junta said the lawyers could destabilize the country through their comments to the media. The move was seen as showing the regime’s fear of the ongoing influence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint.

Both leaders have been held in undisclosed locations since the coup. Her legal team has been the only source of information on the trials and the leaders’ well-being while also relaying the leaders’ messages.

On Tuesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi denied the charges of incitement. U Win Myint and the mayor of Naypyitaw, Dr. Myo Aung, are co-defendants in the trial.

The incitement charge against the three was brought over statements released by the National League for Democracy urging the public to resist the regime, on Feb. 7 and Feb. 13, while all three were in captivity.

Lawyers and legal analysts condemned the gagging orders as an illegal violation of a fundamental judicial right to an open trial.

U Khin Maung Myint, a legal adviser, recently told The Irrawaddy: “Citizens have the right to see, know and hear that every stage of the trial is fair and legal. By prohibiting lawyers from informing the public about trials, the administrative branch is exerting influence over the judicial branch. It is a very disgraceful and ugly act.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi chose not to call any witnesses so as not to endanger anyone else.

The junta has brought 11 charges against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which carry up to 102 years in prison.


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