Judge indicts Suu Kyi and Win Myint for alleged breach of Covid-19 rules 

A judge in Naypyitaw on Monday officially indicted Myanmar’s ousted leaders, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, on a charge of breaching Covid-19 restrictions during last year’s election campaign, their lawyers said. 

Judge Maung Maung Lwin handed down the indictment under Section 25 of the Disaster Management Law, which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence and relates to campaign rallies held near Win Myint’s house in September 2020. 

Under Myanmar’s legal system, a judge either issues an indictment or an acquittal after hearing testimony from the defence and the prosecution. The indictment happens at the same hearing in which a defendant submits their plea. 

Both Suu Kyi and Win Myint pleaded not guilty on Monday, meaning there will now be another round of hearings in which the defence will have a chance to examine witnesses. 

The junta-controlled court began hearings for the case on February 16, just over two weeks after the military detained both leaders in midnight raids as it staged a coup. 

The judge on Monday also rejected a request by Suu Kyi for her hearings to be held less frequently for the sake of her health, her defence team said. 

Suu Kyi faces a decades-long sentence after being hit with a total of 11 charges. Hearings for five of the charges are held every week on Mondays and Tuesdays at a special court set up for the cases in Zabuthiri with judge Maung Maung Lwin presiding. 

At the same court, Suu Kyi faces a second charge under the Disaster Management Law as well as two charges under the Export and Import Law and the Telecommunications Law for allegedly possessing illegal communications devices.

The judge will examine both the plaintiff and the defendant on October 18 before deciding whether or not Suu Kyi will be indicted under those laws.

Maung Maung Lwin is also overseeing an incitement charge under Section 505b of the Penal Code filed against Suu Kyi after her party released statements denouncing the coup. 

Suu Kyi’s lawyers met with her for 30 minutes before Monday’s hearing and say she was in good health.

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