Myanmar′s Aung San Suu Kyi urges unity amid legal setback | News | DW | 29.06.2021

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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi urges unity amid legal setback

The ousted leader asked people to "stay united" and "consistent" after a judge denied a bid by her lawyers to disqualify a testimony against her.

A protester holds a poster of Suu Kyi and gestures with a three-fingers salute, a symbol of resistance.

Criminal convictions would bar Suu Kyi from running for office in the future

Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi called on the people of her country to stay united in the face of military rule, her lawyers said Tuesday.

Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, 76, has been under house arrest since the military overthrew Myanmar's elected civilian government, pushing the country into turmoil.

The deposed leader has only communicated with the public via her lawyers.

Min Min Soe, a member of Suu Kyi's legal team, told reporters that she "asked the people to stay united and be consistent."

Suu Kyi's lawyers spoke to the press after a specially-convened court in the capital Naypyidaw denied a motion to disqualify prosecution testimony against her.

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What happened in court?

Tuesday's court session was about the sedition charge, which is punishable with up to two years in prison if the defendant is found guilty of triggering an offense against the state or public tranquility.

A local Naypyitaw official had used Facebook posts from the public page of Suu Kyi's party as evidence supporting the sedition charge.

Suu Kyi's lawyers raised an objection to that testimony, noting that all party's central executive committee members had already been arrested before the statements were posted.

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The defense lawyer handling the sedition case, San Mar La Nyunt, said the prosecution witnesses' testimony "was not in accordance with the law."

The court denied the motion to disqualify the testimony, but said it would allow the issue to be referred to the High Court and would suspend testimony until a ruling is issued.

Ousted President Win Myint and the former mayor of Naypyitaw, Myo Aung, Suu Kyi's political allies, are co-defendants in the sedition charge.

Watch video 02:31

Suu Kyi makes first in-person court appearance – Aye Min Thant reports

What are the charges that Suu Kyi faces?

Besides the separate sedition charge, Suu Kyi is also accused of illegally importing walkie-talkies for her bodyguards' use and violating coronavirus restrictions on two occasions during the 2020 election campaign.

Earlier this month, Suu Kyi was also charged with corruption for allegedly accepting illegal payments. 

She could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on all counts. Any criminal convictions would also bar Suu Kyi from running for public office.

Anti-coup protesters see the charges against Suu Kyi as an attempt by the ruling military to discredit her and consolidate its control. 

fb/rs (AFP, AP, Reuters)