Myanmar's Suu Kyi on trial, thanks people for birthday wishes


FILE PHOTO: State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, November 4, 2019. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa/File Photo

(Reuters) - Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi thanked people for birthday greetings on Monday, in a message she sent through her lawyer while standing trial accused of crimes that could see her jailed for up to 15 years.

"They made birthday wishes for her and told her about the countrywide and worldwide birthday-wishing events for her," Suu Kyi's chief lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said in a text message, describing the defence team's meeting with her on Monday.

"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told the lawyers to convey her thanks and share her wishes for the people," he said, using the Myanmar honorific.

Suu Kyi has been held at an undisclosed location in the capital Naypyitaw since her arrest in the hours before a Feb. 1 military coup that has paralysed the country.

Since last week, she has been on trial facing accusations of illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios and breaching coronavirus regulations while campaigning. She also faces more serious charges including incitement and violating corruption and secrecy laws. Her lawyers call the accusations absurd.

Demonstrations have taken place around the country to mark her 76th birthday, which was on Saturday, with protesters carrying flowers and her portrait and many making the three-finger gesture synonymous with the pro-democracy movement.

Supporters posted pictures on social media of what they said were events celebrating her birthday in Britain, the Netherlands, South Korea and the United States.

The court on Monday heard prosecution testimony on Monday by a police officer and an army captain, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said.

Her supporters say the cases are designed to end the political career of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning figurehead of Myanmar's decades-long struggle for democracy.

The Naypyitaw court proceedings are expected to conclude at the end of July.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty)

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