Myanmar military junta issues gag order to Aung San Suu Kyi lawyer

In this file photo taken on May 24, 2021, Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer representing detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, addresses members of the media at his house in Naypyidaw. Khin Maung Zaw, the chief lawyer for Myanmar's ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Friday (Oct 15) he has been banned by the junta from speaking to journalists, diplomats or international organisations. - AFP

YANGON, Oct 15 (dpa): Myanmar's military leaders have banned the lawyer representing the country's one-time de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi from speaking to the media, diplomats or any international organizations about the cases against his client.

Khin Maung Zaw has been a key source of information about the secretive legal cases under way against Suu Kyi, who was ousted in a military coup on February 1 that triggered months of violent unrest.

He regularly updated the public on the progress of the cases as well as the health of the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

On Friday, he posted details of the gag order imposed on him on Facebook.

"Khin Maung Zaw's communication could disturb and hurt anyone who behaves according to the law, which would also lead to unrest and destabilise public peace," said the order, which also blamed the media for spreading fake news.

Attempts by dpa to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since the military coup. Last month, she was unable to attend the first day of her trial in the capital Naypyidaw due to illness, though it remains unclear what she was suffering from.

Suu Kyi is accused of a range of offences, including violations of a state secrets law, foreign trading laws and breaking coronavirus regulations. The charges are widely seen as trumped up and as being aimed at silencing Myanmar's veteran pro-democracy campaigner, who has long been a thorn in the side of the ruling military junta.

Suu Kyi spent a total of 15 years under house arrest before becoming the de facto head of Myanmar's civilian government in 2016 following democratic elections. - dpa

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