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Myanmar court defers verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi trial

November 30, 2021

Sources report the first ruling in the trial of the ousted leader has been put back by a week. Suu Kyi could spend the rest of her life in prison if convicted of charges including incitment and corruption.

Myanmar demonstrators holding a banner with the figure of Suu Kyi and the slogan "we stand with our leader".
The Myanmar court postponed the verdict on ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to allow new testimonyImage: REUTERS

A court in Myanmar deferred an initial verdict in the trial of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to December 6 on Tuesday.

The charges against her include incitement against the ruling military and breaking COVID-19 protocols.

It will be the first ruling since her ousting and arrest following a military coup on February 1.

The former Nobel laureate also faces several other charges that could see her spend the rest of her life in prison if convicted.

What are the charges against Suu Kyi?

Days after the coup Suu Kyi was charged with possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions during the 2020 elections.

Since then, the military junta has added a number of other charges, including violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and electoral fraud. She is also accused of having accepted illegal payments of gold and $600,000 (€493,000) in cash.

In recent weeks, other high-ranking members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) have been indicted with various charges. A former chief minister, Than Naing, was sentenced to 75 years earlier this month, and Suu Kyi aide U Win Htein received a 20-year sentence. Former president Win Myint, ousted along with Suu Kyi, is also facing charges.

Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Htein at a funeral service.
Suu Kyi aide U Win Htein received a 20-year sentence.Image: AFP/Getty Images

The United States and experts from the United Nations have condemned the indictments and demanded the defendants' release.

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?

Suu Kyi led the NLD to victory in the 2015 general election, the first democratic vote in Myanmar in 25 years.

Between 1989 and 2012, she spent a total of 15 years under house arrest. While confined to her family's colonial-era mansion in Yangon, Suu Kyi would appear to thousands gathered on the other side of her garden fence.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 in recognition of her struggle for democracy.

What is the current situation in Myanmar?

Myanmar's junta has been grappling with protests, strikes and armed resistance by militias since the overthrow of the Suu Kyi government. According to a local monitoring group, more than 1,200 people have been killed and over 10,000 arrested in a crackdown on dissent.

sdi/rt (AFP, Reuters)