Myanmar’s detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial after the military coup in the country which seized power from her approximately four months ago.
The specialized court held in the capital of Myanmar, Naypyidaw heard about the criminal cases against the ousted leader who is also a Nobel Prize Laureate. According to the lawyer of Suu Kyi, Khin Maung Zaw; she appeared to be unwell and sick throughout the court hearing.
The trial imposed three charges on 75 years old Suu Kyi. They included the violation of communications law by allegedly importing and using walkie-talkie radios, as well as violation of coronavirus restrictions while campaigning the election last year.
The court also heard a case against the ousted president U Win Myint, which was about the violation of disaster management laws of the country.
The trial is said to resume for hearing on Tuesday where 2 more charges will be imposed on Suu Kyi. One of the most serious charges against her – corruption and violation of the State’s Secret Act has yet to be assigned a trial date and is still pending.
A military coup under the supervision of Gen. Min Aung Hilaing seized power of the civilian government on February 1, detaining various democratically elected leaders which included Aung San Suu Kyi. They were put under detention and were charged with various offenses.
The military coup led to months of protests by the people of Myanmar which resulted in deadly clashes between the civilians and the military.
Many legal experts and activists criticized the charges against Suu Kyi stating that this trial looks like a SHOW trial and the charges are all politically motivated and are part of a larger provision of a crackdown by the military to dissipate further into power.
David Mathieson, a Yangon-based independent analyst stated that it is a show trial to discredit Aung San Suu Kyi and to please her political opposition. He further stated that the Junta put immense efforts to discredit Suu Kyi but she remains in the hearts of the public and is still hugely popular. The majority of the 54 million people of Myanmar do not stand by the military to run the country anymore. A common man of Myanmar does not trust the military or the legal system at all.
A small ray of light in the form of democratic reforms was felt by the public in the few years Suu Kyi remained in power as democracy prevailed in the country but it was halted abruptly when a military coup seized the power back in February.
Suu Kyi is expected to be charged for seven different cases which include the violation of official secrets – a crime that may land her in prison for a maximum of 14 years. She will also be facing the charge of corruption using her rank which if proven will get her 15 years of imprisonment sentence.
Since the protests began after the military coup in February, as many as 860 people have lost their lives in these deadly protests whereas 6027 have been arrested; according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group. The arrested people included protesters, journalists, celebrities, activists, government officials, and even children and bystanders.