Military court delays decisions in first trials of Suu Kyi to Dec. 6

Military court delays decisions in first trials of Suu Kyi to Dec. 6

A military court that was today expected to pass judgment in the first batch of 11 show trials currently facing deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has deferred a decision until December 6, sources close to Naypyidaw’s Zabuthiri special court have said. 

A presiding judge was originally expected to reveal the outcome of two cases tried under Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law (for allegedly breaking COVID-19 regulations by waving to NLD supporters who passed by Suu Kyi’s residence in Naypyidaw during the 2020 election campaign) and one under Section 505 (B) for incitement. The three charges carry a maximum combined sentence of eight years imprisonment.

Former president, Win Myint, and Naypyidaw Council Chairman, Dr Myo Aung, are co-defendants in Suu Kyi’s incitement case, whilst Win Myint was also charged with breaking COVID-19 regulations. 

Today in court, one Section 25 case was heard after two others were adjourned. The judge mentioned that Mandalay Chief Minister, Dr Zaw Myint Maung—who is being held in Mandalay’s Obo Prison on a similar raft of charges and recently missed a court hearing due to ill health—will be fit enough to travel to Naypyidaw to defend Suu Kyi and Win Myint in front of prosecutors on Dec. 6.

Dr Zaw Myint Maung, who is suffering from Leukemia, had earlier informed his legal team that he wished to testify as a witness for the deposed state counselor. The court is to rule on the admissibility of the Mandalay head’s testimony next week, when the judge has said a decision will be made in three of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trials, and two involving Win Myint.

News from the trials of Burma’s deposed leaders has been scarce since Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team—including Khin Maung Zaw, Kyi Win, Thae Maung Maung and Min Min Soe—were all individually prohibited by the military from speaking to international media, diplomats, and organizations under Article 144 of Burma’s Code of Criminal Procedure. 

Aung San Suu Kyi has been hit with 11 unsubstantiated charges since the February 1 coup and is being held under house arrest in Naypyidaw. The military’s Union Electoral Commission recently added an additional charge of electoral fraud, a crime recently levied across a number of Burma’s deposed NLD leaders.

The 11 trials currently facing Aung San Suu Kyi:

  • Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code (for incitement) – one case – max sentence: two years in prison
  • Section 67 of the Telecommunications Law (possession of illegal telecommunications equipment) – one case – one year in prison 
  • Section 8 of the Import and Export Law (illegal import of walkie talkies) – one case – three years in prison 
  • Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law (violation of COVID-19 regulations) – two cases (one in a military court, one in a civil court) – three years in prison for each count
  • Government Secrets Act (1) C (leaking state secrets) – one case – 14 years in prison 
  • Section 55 and 63 of the Anti-Corruption Law (corruption) – five cases – 15 years in prison for each 

The 76-year-old faces more than 100 years in prison if convicted on all charges.