Critics slam ‘bogus’ charges against Suu Kyi

OUSTED Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is set to go on trial on charges that many observers have criticised as an attempt by the military junta that deposed her to delegitimise her democratic election and cripple her political future.

Suu Kyi’s prosecution poses the greatest challenge for the 75-year-old and her National League for Democracy party since February’s military coup, which prevented them from taking office for a second five-year term following last year’s landslide election victory.

Human Rights Watch charged that the allegations being heard in a special court in the capital, Naypyitaw are “bogus and politically motivated” with the intention of nullifying the victory and preventing Suu Kyi from running for office again.

“This trial is clearly the opening salvo in an overall strategy to neuter Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy party as a force that can challenge military rule in the future, ” said Phil Robertson, the organisation’s deputy Asia director yesterday.

The junta has brought an eclectic raft of charges against Suu Kyi, including claims she accepted illegal payments of gold and violated a colonial-era secrecy law.

She is being tried on allegations she illegally imported walkie-talkies for her bodyguards’ use, unlicensed use of the radios and spreading information that could cause public alarm or unrest, as well as for two counts of violating the Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly breaking pandemic restrictions during the 2020 election campaign, her lawyers said on Sunday.

Although Suu Kyi faced her first charge just days after the coup, she was not immediately allowed to consult with her lawyers.

Only on May 24, when she made her first actual appearance in court, was she allowed the first of two brief face-to-face meetings with them at pre-trial hearings.

Her only previous court appearances had been by video link. — Agencies

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