Trial postponed, lawyer demands to see ASSK as charges pile up

2012 file photo of Aung San Suu Kyi at the United Nations. Photo: Violaine Martin
2012 file photo of Aung San Suu Kyi at the United Nations. Photo: Violaine Martin

The trial of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was delayed until early next month, her lawyer said yesterday.

Attorney Khin Maung Zaw said he needed to meet with his client, the former state counsellor deposed in February’s coup d’etat, as new charges have been filed against her, adding that it had been over six weeks since his team had discussed the case with her. Her next hearing is now set for Sept. 6.

Aung San Suu Kyi slapped with 4 more charges related to corruption

“We need to talk about the ongoing charges with them [President Win Myint and former Naypyidaw Mayor Myo Aung] as well as the new charges that have been brought against Suu Kyi. We also need their legal permission for the new cases,” he said.

Suu Kyi has been detained for nearly seven months and has been charged with 11 separate crimes that could result in a sentence of more than four decades in prison if convicted.

Though she has been kept mostly out of sight, Suu Kyi was allowed 30-minute meetings with her defense team at a Naypyitaw Council building before her most recent court appearances, including one last month at the Mandalay Region High Court, where the defense team learned she had been charged with four additional counts of corruption.

As her lawyers lack the power of attorney required to defend her against the new charges, they require her to learn the specifics of each lawsuit. Khin Maung Zaw said his team would ask the Zabuthiri Township police chief, who has been acting as a liaison between the lawyers and the ruling junta, for new meetings.

Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint are accused of illegally importing walkie-talkies in violation of export law. A judge had said the trial would have to be completed within 180 days, but that time limit is no longer possible, her lawyer said.

The news came as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking in Singapore, said the United States was “committed to supporting the people [in Myanmar] as they work to return their nation to the path of democracy.”

Nonetheless, the military government is trying to extend its power by replacing ambassadors in many countries to foster friendly relationships despite firing embassy staff who had joined the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Kyodo News on Sunday reported that Japan has effectively refused to provide visas to two diplomats the junta wants to dispatch to Tokyo to replace two ousted in March.

Although Myanmar’s military has requested that the two replacements be granted diplomatic visas by Japan, Tokyo said that it was “considering” the request and had yet to begin issuance procedures.

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