Court admits NLD statements as evidence against Suu Kyi 

A junta-controlled court accepted two statements issued by the National League for Democracy (NLD) as evidence against State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and two other members of her ousted government on Tuesday. 

The statements, released by the party’s central executive committee on February 7 and 13, were submitted by the prosecution last week as part of its incitement case against Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and Naypyitaw mayor Myo Aung. 

The February 7 statement urged the international community, including the United Nations, foreign governments, and foreign missions in Myanmar, not to recognise the coup regime. 

A week later, as the newly installed military council was preparing to enact the controversial Cyber Security Law, the NLD released another statement that said all regulations, rules and laws enacted by the junta were illegal.

Suu Kyi and the other two senior members of her party were charged with incitement under section 505b of the Penal Code. They have been in military custody since the country’s elected civilian government was overthrown on February 1.

Judge Maung Maung Lwin, who presides over a court in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township specially designated to handle the cases against the three high-profile defendants, ruled out the defence team’s objection to the submitted evidence.

The defence lawyers said they were not “not satisfied” with the township judge’s ruling.

“We objected to the submitted evidence because no one from the party signed those statements. It just said they were from the central executive committee of the NLD,” said lawyer Min Min Soe, a member of the defence team.

The defence team will appeal the decision at a higher, district-level court, she added. The Dekkhina District Court will hear the appeal on July 6, but the defendants are not required to attend the hearing, she said.

Thein Oo, who serves as justice minister in the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), said that basing charges against the three leaders on statements issued after their detention was evidence that the regime was “turning a blind eye to the law.”

“The military council is committing a crime by arresting those who did not commit any crimes, because they are knowingly prosecuting innocent people,” he said. 

On Tuesday, lawyers on the defence team met with the defendants for about half an hour, Min Min Soe said. The hearing lasted about three hours.

Suu Kyi, who turned 76 this month, faces a total of seven charges. She could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison if found guilty on all charges. 

In addition to incitement, she has been charged with violating the Official Secrets Act and the Telecommunications Law, illegally importing walkie-talkies, and breaching Covid-19 protocols during last year’s election campaign. 

Earlier this month, the regime added corruption to the list of charges against Suu Kyi, accusing her of abusing her position as leader of the ruling party to benefit a private foundation named after her mother, as well as an affiliated project.

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