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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Radio Free Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi begins trial in prison

Myanmar's ousted leader faces a lifetime behind bars if convicted of all charges against her.

By RFA Burmese 2022.06.23 -- Detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi began her trial on Thursday in a special court in Naypyidaw Prison. The National League for Democracy (NLD) leader was moved to the prison in Myanmar's capital city and placed in solitary confinement on Wednesday.

Sources close to the court told RFA the case of Suu Kyi and Sean Turnell, Section 3 (1) (c) of the Myanmar Government Secrecy Act, was heard in a special court in the prison.

Some witnesses were recalled and examined in court in connection with the case. The details of the investigation are not yet known as Suu Kyi's lawyers have been barred from releasing details to the media.

Previously, the case was heard every Thursday in a special court in the Naypyidaw Council compound in Zabuthiri township, which was hurriedly set up after the military coup on February 1, 2021.

Suu Kyi has been summoned to the court every week by police guards from the military council's secret detention center.

Section 3 (1) (c) of the Government Secrecy Act was enacted in 1923 during the British colonial rule of the country then called Burma. Anyone convicted faces up to 14 years in prison.

Sean Turnell has been State Counselor Suu Kyi's business adviser since 2017 under the NLD-led government. He is the first foreigner close to the NLD-led government to be arrested since the military coup.

Suu Kyi, who turned 77 on Sunday, has been charged in 19 cases since the military coup. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison for six cases. The remaining 13 cases are still pending. If convicted the sentence could be extended to more than 100 years.

The military council announced on Thursday that Suu Kyi had been transferred to prison under criminal law after being tried by the relevant courts.

The authorities reinforced the prison fences and increased security after Suu Kyi arrived at Naypyidaw Prison. Discipline at both male and female barracks in the prison has been tightened up, according to sources close to the prison.

The top leaders of the NLD-led government, members of parliament and many opponents of the military coup are facing trial in the Special Court in Naypyidaw Prison. Those convicted are often transferred to Yamethin Prison near Naypyidaw.

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