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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Criminal Hearings Resume for Myanmar's Deposed Leader

By VOA News June 28, 2021

Three separate hearings on criminal charges brought against deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi took place Monday in the capital, Naypyitaw.

Suu Kyi's lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, told journalists the first hearing involved two witnesses testifying on charges she violated the country's Natural Disaster Management Law for breaking COVID-19 restrictions while campaigning during last year's parliamentary election.

In the second hearing, Khin Maung Zaw said the court sustained an objection to the defense team's cross-examination of a police officer in the case against Suu Kyi under the Communications Law on the grounds the question may affect the court's verdict.

The final hearing involved charges she violated the country's Export-Import Law.

Khin Maung Zaw said the hearings have been adjourned until next Monday, July 5.

The 76-year-old Suu Kyi has been detained since February 1, when her civilian government was overthrown nearly three months after her National League for Democracy party scored a landslide electoral victory. Along with violating the COVID-19 restrictions, she has been accused of illegally possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, breaching the Official Secrets Act, inciting public unrest, misusing land for her charitable foundation, and accepting illegal payments of $600,000 in cash plus 11 kilograms of gold.

Ousted President Win Myint and former Naypyitaw mayor Myo Aung are being tried alongside Suu Kyi.

Electoral fraud allegation

The junta has cited widespread electoral fraud in the November 8 election as a reason for the coup, an allegation the civilian electoral commission denied. The junta has threatened to dissolve the NLD over the allegations.

The coup triggered a crisis in that led to deadly anti-junta demonstrations and clashes among several armed ethnic groups and the ruling junta.

In a campaign to quell the protests, the government has killed more than 800 protesters and bystanders since the takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which tracks casualties and arrests in Myanmar.

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