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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Myanmar court postpones latest Aung San Suu Kyi verdict

Suu Kyi was accused of importing and possessing walkie-talkies without following official procedures.

By: AP | Bangkok |
December 20, 2021 6:02:12 pm
Suu Kyi, 76, was ousted in a February 1, 2021 coup. (Reuters)

A Myanmar court on Monday postponed the issuing of verdicts in the latest of a series of cases against the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a legal official knowledgeable about the case said.

No reason was given for the postponement, according to a legal official who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities, who have restricted the release of information about Suu Kyi’s trials.

Suu Kyi was accused of importing and possessing walkie-talkies without following official procedures.

The postponed verdict from the court in the capital, Naypyitaw, is for the second among multiple cases brought against the 76-year-old Nobel laureate since the army seized power on Feb. 1, ousting her elected government and arresting top members of her National League for Democracy party.

The radios that are the focus of the case were seized from the entrance gate of her residence and the barracks of her bodyguards during a search on Feb. 1, the day she was arrested.

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The charge under the Export-Import Law of having improperly imported the walkies-talkies was the first one that was filed against her and served as the initial justification for her continued detention. The charge of illegally possessing the radios was filed the following month.

Suu Kyi’s lawyers had argued that the radios were not in her personal possession and were legitimately used to help provide for her security, but the court refused to dismiss the charges against her.

Suu Kyi on Dec. 6 was convicted on two other charges, incitement and breaching of the COVID-19 restrictions, for which she was sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment. The head of the military-installed government, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, had reduced the sentence by half after it was issued, by giving her a partial pardon.

Suu Kyi’s supporters and rights groups say that the cases against her have been contrived by the military to discredit her and end her political career while justifying its takeover. If found guilty of all the charges she faces, Suu Kyi could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

February’s seizure of power by the military was met by nonviolent nationwide demonstrations, which the security forces quashed with deadly force. More than 1,300 civilians have been killed, according to a tally compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-profit human rights organization founded in 2000 by former political prisoners living in exile on the Thai/Burma border

Peaceful protests have continued, but armed resistance has also grown under the severe crackdown, to the point that U.N. experts have warned the country may be sliding into civil war.

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