Junta witnesses to testify in Suu Kyi’s sedition trial

Torch bearers: People holding torches while marching in protest at Mandalay. — Reuters

JUNTA witnesses were set to testify against deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi on charges of sedition and flouting coronavirus restrictions.

The country has been in turmoil since the military ousted Suu Kyi’s elected government in February and embarked on a crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 850 people, a monitoring group says.Under house arrest and invisible bar a handful of court appearances, Suu Kyi has been hit with a raft of charges, including accepting illegal payments of gold and violating a colonial-era secrecy law.

The court was set to hear testimony from witnesses claiming she broke coronavirus restrictions during last year’s elections that her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won in a landslide.

A separate trial in which she is accused of sedition alongside ousted president Win Myint and another senior NLD member, is also scheduled to begin.

If convicted, Suu Kyi, 75, faces more than a decade in jail.

Journalists are barred from proceedings and there was a heavy security presence outside the special court in the capital Naypyidaw yesterday, an AFP reporter said.

The long-delayed hearings come as fighting flares in communities across Myanmar.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, who has refused to leave his post despite being fired, has called for the international community to take “effective collective measures” against the junta.

“The lack of such actions... will further encourage the military to continue committing inhumane and brutal acts against civilians, ” he wrote in comments published Monday ahead of expected UN Security Council talks on the Myanmar crisis. — Agencies

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