Dr Zaw Myint Maung to testify in Suu Kyi’s Covid-19 trial

Dr Zaw Myint Maung, the detained vice chair of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has been called to testify in Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial on charges of violating Covid-19 restrictions ahead of last year’s election.

A court source familiar with the case said that the legal team for the ousted state counsellor submitted Zaw Myint Aung’s name as a witness during a hearing on Tuesday.

Suu Kyi and Zaw Myint Maung have both been charged under Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law for allegedly ignoring measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while conducting campaign activities last year.

Both leaders have also faced a host of other charges since they were arrested on February 1 as part of a coup to depose Myanmar’s NLD-led elected government.

The source who informed Myanmar Now of the move by Suu Kyi’s defence team said that the judge who was presiding over the case had agreed to allow Zaw Myint Maung to take the stand.

“The judge said it would be somewhat difficult to summon him, but accepted the witness list,” said the source.

It was unclear what difficulties the judge was referring to, but the 69-year-old Zaw Myint Maung was recently admitted to a hospital inside Mandalay’s Obo Prison for treatment related to his ongoing battle with leukemia. 

Lawyers for Suu Kyi were unable to confirm the source’s information because of a gag order imposed by the court.  

The charge against Suu Kyi in this case was filed by Tun Myint Aung, a former NLD party secretary for Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township who accused her of visiting supporters in the township’s Shwe Kyar Pin ward in August 2020 in defiance of Covid-19 restrictions. 

He later confirmed to Myanmar Now that he made the accusations against Suu Kyi after being approached by military authorities.

Tun Myint Aung, the plaintiff in the case against Aung San Suu Kyi, protests in front of the Union Election Commission on November 22, 2020 (Myanmar Now) 

Zaw Myint Maung, who was also Mandalay’s chief minister until his arrest, was called as a witness in the case because he was with Suu Kyi during her visit to Shwe Kyar Pin ward.  

According to the court source, Suu Kyi is scheduled to testify on her own behalf on November 16, while Zaw Myint Maung will give his testimony one week later.

The defence and the prosecution are to give their final statements on December 7, and a verdict will be delivered on December 14, the source added.

Last week, court sources revealed that Win Htein, an NLD party patron who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sedition late last month, would appear in court on behalf of both Suu Kyi and deposed president Win Myint, who has also been charged under the Disaster Management Law.

The 80-year-old party stalwart, who suffers from a number of serious medical conditions, has also been charged under the same law.

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