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An uncertain future for Aung San Suu Kyi’s Yangon home

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

The fate of Aung San Suu Kyi’s home at 54 University Avenue in Yangon will be determined by a military-run court, say legal experts. 

An auction organized by the regime for the lakeside villa was postponed after it failed to draw any bidders at the predetermined starting price of $90 million USD on March 20.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her estranged brother Aung San Oo have been engaged in a long-running legal dispute over ownership of the home. 

Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team has filed a revision with the Yangon Region High Court regarding the auction proceedings. Legal experts stress that the court’s decision will determine whether the property will be put up for auction again and if the process will comply with legal procedures.

Veteran lawyer Kyee Myint has outlined the forthcoming legal proceedings, highlighting the pivotal role of the court in determining the next steps. 

Legal representatives of Aung San Suu Kyi and Aung San Oo will present their arguments during a hearing that has been scheduled for the first week of April. 

Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team is expected to raise objections, while Aung San Oo’s representatives may request a decrease in the $90 million USD auction starting price.

Kyee Myint emphasized the importance of a plea concerning the revision, stating that if accepted by the Yangon Region High Court, the auction process would be temporarily halted. The auction will proceed if the revision filing is rejected. 

A new auction will be conducted if Aung San Oo’s lawyer succeeds in reducing the starting price of the home. However, any unjust decrease proposed by Aung San Oo’s lawyer would likely face objections from Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team.

Legal adviser Khin Maung Myint echoed the necessity for both parties to submit proposals for the starting price, underscoring the court’s role in deciding an appropriate figure. However, concerns have arisen over Aung San Suu Kyi’s inability to participate due to her imprisonment by the military since the 2021 coup.

In the execution suit of inheritance, the judgment creditor is responsible for confirming and enforcing the decree. For the auction, both litigants must submit proposals for the starting price, with the court ultimately determining a reasonable amount.

According to a 2016 court order, Aung San Suu Kyi retains the right of first option to purchase the property at the starting price should it proceed to an auction. Veteran lawyer Kyee Myint expressed concerns over the unilateral actions taken in Aung San Suu Kyi’s absence, emphasizing the need for her input in the legal proceedings.

“The revision was filed due to dissatisfaction with unilateral actions taken in the absence of the client,” said Kyee Myint. 

“The Yangon Region High Court will hear whether it should be accepted or not. If it is accepted and brought into court, doing so without Aung San Suu Kyi’s opinion is unlawful. The court may order to resubmit her opinion or reject it. Alternatively, both sides may be directed to present arguments, leading to a decision to either reject or approve,” he added

The auction order was rendered by the Supreme Court following Aung San Oo’s application to regime Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo in October 2021, requesting possession of his share of the property as per a Western Yangon District Court order in 2016. 

The National Unity Government (NUG) has designated the 54 University Avenue home as a national cultural heritage site. Kyaw Zaw, the NUG President’s spokesperson, warned it would take legal action against any individuals or entities involved in the property’s sale or purchase.

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