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Myanmar junta court postpones Suu Kyi verdict

By AFP
20 December 2021   |   9:38 am
A Myanmar junta court on Monday postponed giving its verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi's trial for illegally importing and possessing walkie talkies, a source with knowledge of the case said.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 19, 2017, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a national address in Naypyidaw. – Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi skipped the resumption of her coronavirus-delayed trial in a junta court due to car sickness, her lawyer said on September 13, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

A Myanmar junta court on Monday postponed giving its verdict in Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial for illegally importing and possessing walkie talkies, a source with knowledge of the case said.

The Nobel laureate has been detained since the generals staged a coup against her government on February 1, ending the Southeast Asian country’s brief period of democracy.

Nationwide protests against the putsch have been met with a bloody crackdown, with more than 1,300 people killed and over 11,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

Suu Kyi, 76, was due to hear the verdict on charges she illegally imported and possessed walkie-talkies — the latest in a catalogue of judgements in a junta court that could see her jailed for the rest of her life.

But the judge adjourned the case until December 27 without explanation, a source with knowledge of the case told AFP.

Earlier this month, she was jailed for four years for incitement against the military and breaching Covid restrictions, in a ruling that was widely condemned by the international community.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing later commuted the term to two years and said she would serve her sentence under house arrest in the capital Naypyidaw.

Suu Kyi could had faced three years in prison if found guilty on the walkie-talkie charges, which stem from the early hours of the coup when soldiers and police raided her house and allegedly found her in possession of the contraband equipment.

Under cross-examination, members of the raiding party admitted they had not possessed a search warrant for the raid, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Suu Kyi is also charged with multiple counts of corruption — each of which is punishable by 15 years in jail — and violating the official secrets act.

Journalists have been barred from attending the special court hearings in Naypyidaw and her lawyers were recently banned from speaking to the media.

Incommunicado
Suu Kyi’s long spells of house arrest under a previous junta were spent at her family’s colonial-era mansion in Yangon, where she would appear before thousands gathered on the other side of her garden fence.

Min Aung Hlaing’s regime has confined her to an undisclosed location in the capital, with her link to the outside world limited to brief pre-trial meetings with her lawyers.

The junta has also threatened to dissolve her National League for Democracy, citing alleged fraud in 2020 elections that international observers said were largely free and fair.

A junta-appointed election commission investigating allegations of fraud during the polls is due to report its findings in early 2022, the information minister told a press conference earlier this month.

In recent weeks, other senior members of the NLD have received long sentences.

A former chief minister was sentenced to 75 years in jail, while a close Suu Kyi aide was jailed for 20.

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