July 25, 2021

Aung San Suu Kyi appears in public for the first time since his arrest in Burma

Former Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in court on Monday, May 24, for the first time since the military coup of 1is February. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 75, who has so far only appeared by video conference, has been allowed to speak directly with her defense team.

“We [l’]met for thirty minutesMin Min Soe, one of his lawyers, told reporters. She looked healthy and fully confident. “ Before the hearing, the former leader “Affirmed that his party, the National League for Democracy [LND], will exist as long as the people exist, because it was founded for the people ”, said the lawyer. The junta threatens to dissolve the NLD, which massively won the 2020 legislative elections, alleging electoral fraud during this election.

A next hearing is scheduled for June 7, said Min Min Soe, who also met with former President of the Republic Win Myint, arrested along with Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Six charges

Aung San Suu Kyi is one of more than 4,000 people detained since the putsch. She is being prosecuted in particular for non-compliance with restrictions linked to the pandemic, illegal importation of walkie-talkies, incitement to public unrest and violation of a law on state secrets dating from the colonial era. She is also accused of having collected several hundred thousand dollars and eleven kilograms of gold in bribes, but has not been charged with corruption. If found guilty, she could be banned from political life or even sentenced to long years in prison.

The NLD obtained an absolute majority in the legislative elections of November, criticized for a lack of transparency but the results of which were, “In general, representative of the will of the people of Burma”, according to the Asian Network for Free Elections. A group of deposed deputies, mostly members of the NLD, formed after the coup a “Government of national unity” that the junta placed in early May on its list of “Terrorist organizations”.

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Attacks on police stations, demonstrations

Since the coup, the military have not managed to curb the protest. Fighters hostile to the new power on Sunday attacked a police station in Mobye, a town in the east of the country, claiming to have killed at least 13 members of the security forces and captured four, local media reported. The town of Mobye is located about a hundred kilometers east of Naypyidaw, the Burmese capital, near a territory controlled by several armed groups formed by ethnic minorities who have fought for decades against the central power for their autonomy. .

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Another clash was reported by Burmese media near the town of Demoso, 20 km south of Mobye. Insurgents claimed to have killed up to 20 members of the security forces, who dispatched reinforcements equipped with armored vehicles. Fighting was also reported on Sunday between Burmese troops and an alliance of armed groups in Muse, a town on the border with China in the northeast of the country.

Faced with new conflicts on several fronts, the military must also face daily protests and strikes demanding the release of nearly 4,300 people arrested since the coup, including elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and cripple hospitals, schools and many private businesses.

At least 815 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, a Burmese NGO. Junta number one General Min Aung Hlaing said on Saturday that 300 people had been killed, in addition to 47 police officers.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters