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HomeBreakingRevision filed to stop sale of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Yangon home

Revision filed to stop sale of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Yangon home

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

The legal team representing jailed Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is navigating legal channels in military-run courts to file a revision concerning the auction of her family home at 54 University Avenue in Yangon, where she famously spent 15 out of 20 years under house arrest.

The Kamayut District Court issued an auction order for the property in January, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday. A starting price was set by the court at over 30 billion kyat ($90 million USD).

The lakeside villa was owned by Khin Kyi, the wife of Burma’s independence hero Aung San and the mother of Aung San Suu Kyi and Aung San Oo. But a legal dispute between the siblings over its ownership began in 2001. 

Aung San Suu Kyi’s son, Kim Aris, said ownership of the property has been disputed as long as he can remember. But since Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest during the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021, the regime in Naypyidaw has since gone to great lengths to strip her of anything she owned in the country.

“My uncle had no claim on the property because he was an American citizen. But the regime will make up their rules as they go along, making life more difficult for my mother. And if that property is sold, that will leave her with nothing in Burma because the house she was in Naypyidaw was government property, and any other land that she had has been seized by the military,” he said.

In 2016, the Western Yangon District Court ruled in favor of Aung San Suu Kyi, affirming her ownership of the two-story villa, while the two-acre land it sits on next to Inya Lake was to be equitably divided between them.

Legal representatives acting on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi have formally submitted a revision request to the military-run court, aiming to address the auctioning of the property without her consent.

“The legal procedure involved is intricate, encompassing various stages in the civil execution suit. Auction procedures entail legal warrants, orders, auction valuation, and employs several methods to gradually reduce the starting price,” said a source close to the Naypyidaw prison. 

Aung San Oo holds the right to half of the property as per the court’s ruling. He submitted a personal application letter to regime Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo in October 2021, requesting possession of his share of the property for sale and division.

Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in isolation at Naypyidaw prison with a 26-year sentence. Rumors of her being transferred to a government housing complex – after receiving a six-year sentence reduction – last August turned out to be false. She’s been barred from meeting with her own legal team since December 2022.

“Denying the lawyer access to meet Aung San Suu Kyi obstructs the presentation of her perspective. The court’s unilateral decision raises questions about legal integrity. Such actions seem to harbor resentment. It is fundamental for legal representatives to have access to individuals in custody,” said veteran lawyer Kyee Myint.

Aung San Suu Kyi was denied the opportunity to establish the starting price following consultations with her legal team. Instead, the military-run Kamayut District Court unilaterally determined the starting price without any transparent procedure, surpassing legal provisions and established protocols.

Kyaw Zaw, the National Unity Government (NUG) President’s Office spokesperson, underscored the historical significance of the property. 

“Our government has formally recognized it as national cultural heritage. Any potential buyer or organization involved in its sale is considered to be collaborating with terrorists. Legal action will be pursued vigorously. This transaction holds no legal validity, and individuals or entities involved, including buyers, preparers, or organizations, will face legal consequences. I want to reiterate that such actions are unequivocally illegal,” he said.

The looming auction date of March 20 has prompted potential buyers to initiate applications. However, the transparency and adherence to legal procedures by the Kamayut District Court have been questioned by legal experts.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued imprisonment, coupled with her restricted access to legal counsel over the last 15 months, underscores the challenges faced in navigating her legal affairs during this crisis caused by the military.

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