Suu Kyi demands in-person meeting with lawyers

Nay Pyi Taw, Apr 12 (IANS): Myanmar's former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was ousted and detained following the February 1 coup, has again demanded a face-to-face meeting with her lawyers at a court hearing held online.

So far, the judiciary has refused, dpa news agency reported on Monday.

President Win Myint, who was also taken into custody in the wake of the military takeover, had made the same demand, according to Min Min Soe, a lawyer on Suu Kyi's defence team.

"We were able to see them both at the trial via video link, and they looked healthy," the lawyer said.

Exactly where Suu Kyi and Win Myint are being held remains unclear.

Another charge of violating Covid-19 restrictions has also been brought against the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Min Min Soe said, but exact details remained unclear.

Suu Kyi faces already one case in connection with these regulations.

The judiciary accuses the 75-year-old of several offences, including violations of foreign trade laws in connection with radio equipment found in her house.

Most recently, the military junta brought a case for an alleged violation of a state secrets law that dates back to colonial times.

The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

The most serious charge so far is that of "incitement to sedition".

At the end of March, Suu Kyi was allowed to speak briefly with Min Min Soe via video link. Since the coup, however, she has had no personal access to her defence lawyers.

The next hearing is scheduled for April, her lawyer said.

The coup has prompted widespread protests, to which soldiers have responded with a violent crackdown on the population.

Nearly 2,850 have been arrested, and at least 598 have been killed, including 48 children, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-profit organization.


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