Myanmar court delays verdicts in second case against Suu Kyi

BANGKOK (AP), -- A Myanmar court postponed Monday its verdicts on two charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, the ousted leader. She is accused of possessing and importing walkie-talkies in violation of official procedures.

Myanmar court delays verdicts in second case against Suu Kyi

Naypyitaw's case is one of many filed against the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who is 76 years old. The army took power in February and overthrew her elected government. They also arrested top members from her National League for Democracy party.

According to the official, the court did not give any reason for delaying the verdicts beyond Jan. 10. He said that the legal representative insisted on anonymity because he was afraid of being punished.

Although Suu Kyi's party won an overwhelming victory in the last year's general elections, the military claimed widespread electoral fraud. This assertion was doubted by independent poll watchers.

Suu Kyi's supporters, and independent analysts, claim that all of the charges against her were politically motivated. They are an attempt to discredit Suu Kyi and legitimize military power. She could spend more than 100 years prison if she is found guilty of all charges.

On Dec. 6, Suu Kyi was found guilty of two additional charges, incitement as well as breaching COVID-19 restrictions. She was sentenced to four-years imprisonment. Minutes after Suu Kyi was sentenced, the military-installed government head, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing reduced the sentence by half. The military has her in custody at an unspecified location, and state television reported that she would be serving her sentence there.

Suu Kyi was wearing prison clothes, a white top and brown longyi skirt that were provided by authorities to her for court hearings. The media are not allowed to attend the hearings. Neither spectators nor the prosecutors can comment. In October, gag orders were issued to her lawyers who were a source of information about the proceedings.

Suu Kyi was first charged under the Export-Import Law with having improperly imported walkies-talkies. This charge served as her initial justification for being held on continued. The following month, a second charge was brought against Suu Kyi for illegally possessing radios.

During a search of her home and the barracks where her bodyguards were stationed, the radios were taken from her gate.

Suu Kyi's lawyers claimed that the radios weren't in her possession and were legally used to provide her security. However, the court refused to dismiss the charges.

Monday's court hearing included video testimony by Zaw Myint Maung (Vice Chairman of Suu Kyi’s Party), in a case against her. This was related to alleged violations of COVID-19 restrictions last year, the legal official stated.

Zaw Myint Maung was unable to make it to court due to health reasons. However, she testified that people had come to her during her visit to Shwe Kyar Pi Ward during the campaign out of respect for her. It wasn't a violation to virus restrictions.

This offense is covered by the Natural Disaster Management Law. The maximum punishment for the crime is three years imprisonment and a fine.

In the same court, she is being tried on five other counts of corruption. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a fine. The sixth corruption charge in which Suu Kyi is accused of granting permits for rent and purchase of a helicopter has yet to be tried.

Separately, she is being accused of violating Official Secrets Act. This Act carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Myanmar's election commission added additional charges against Suu Kyi, 15 others and other politicians in November for fraud in the election of last year. The military-controlled Union Election Commission may charge Suu Kyi and 15 other politicians in November for alleged fraud in last year's election. This could lead to Suu Kyi's party being disbanded and ineligible to take part in the new elections promised by the military.

Nonviolent protests across the country were held to stop the military from capturing power. Security forces responded with deadly force and nearly 1,400 civilians were killed, according to an extensive list prepared by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

While peaceful protests continue, an armed resistance has grown amid the harsh crackdown. To the point where U.N experts warned that the country could be heading for civil war, U.N. experts warn.

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