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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Criminal Hearings Resume for Myanmar's Deposed Civilian Leader

By VOA News July 05, 2021

Myanmar's ousted de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi returned to a courtroom in the capital Naypyidaw Monday for a new round of hearings on corruption-related charges brought against her by the military junta that overthrew her government earlier this year.

Suu Kyi's legal team told reporters the court heard testimony from two witnesses on the charge that she violated the country's Natural Disaster Management Law by breaking COVID-19 restrictions while campaigning during last year's parliamentary election.

In the second hearing, which involved the case against Suu Kyi for violating the Communications Law, attorneys on both sides sparred over testimony offered by one of the three witnesses who were called to appear. The third and final hearing of the day involved the case against Suu Kyi under the Export-Import Law. Six unregistered and illegally imported walkie-talkie radios were allegedly found in a search of her home in the capital of Naypyitaw, according to police document.

Before the hearings involving Suu Kyi, a hearing was held on charges brought against ousted President U Win Myint for violating the Disaster Management Law.

Lawyers have told reporters they expect the current trial to last until the end of July.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, 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 victory in the elections.

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 the Southeast Asian country that led to deadly anti-junta demonstrations and clashes between 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, a rights group tracking casualties and arrests in Myanmar.

VOA's Burmese Service contributed to this report.

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