Myanmar's Deposed Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Makes New Court Appearance
By VOA News April 26, 2021
Myanmar's deposed de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi made another court appearance Monday as the country's regional neighbors increase pressure on the military junta to bring an end to the deadly chaos.
Lawyers for the 75-year-old Suu Kyi also appeared via video conference in a courtroom in the capital Naypyitaw for a procedural hearing.
Suu Kyi has been detained since the February 1 coup and is facing six criminal charges, the most serious of them a charge of breaking the country's colonial-era secrets law that could put her in prison for 14 years if convicted.
Her lawyers say on Monday she again demanded a face-to-face meeting with her legal team, which has not occurred during her detention.
Two other leaders from the overthrown civilian government, President U Win Myint and Dr. Myo Aung, Naypitaw Council Chairman, also appeared before the court via video conference. The next hearing for all three will be held on May 10.
The military cited widespread fraud in last November's general election -- which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won in a landslide -- as its reason for overthrowing Suu Kyi's government.
The coup has sparked daily mass demonstrations across Myanmar demanding the return of Suu Kyi and her elected government to power.
The junta has responded with an increasingly violent and deadly crackdown against the protesters. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a nongovernmental monitoring organization, estimates that more than 700 people have been killed since the coup.
Leaders of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional bloc, of which Myanmar is a member, held an emergency summit Saturday in Jakarta with Senior General Min Aung Hliang, the junta's leader. The group issued a rare statement demanding the junta end the violence, begin a dialogue with all relevant parties and allow entry of a special ASEAN envoy.
But it stopped short of a demand for the immediate release of all political prisoners.
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