Junta trial moves behind bars for Aung San Suu Kyi as she is transferred to prison

Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was moved to a Naypyitaw detention centre on Wednesday afternoon after being held for more than a year in an undisclosed location in the military capital, according to sources close to her case. 

The 77-year-old State Counsellor is reportedly being detained separately from other inmates in a specially designated building within a prison compound in Zabuthiri Township. 

Her first court session at the site was conducted on Thursday, a Naypyitaw-based source told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity, and was related to military allegations that Suu Kyi violated the Official Secrets Act. 

Previous sessions were held in a junta court also in Zabuthiri Township created for the purpose of hosting her trial. 

Her lawyers were informed on Tuesday that the location for future hearings would be changed, the source said. 

“The judge declared that a new building for the court [inside the prison] had been completed,” the individual told Myanmar Now. 

A Burmese language report by Radio Free Asia reported that the junta had transferred Suu Kyi to the detention centre for “security reasons.”

Media outlet Mizzima published a photo of a one-storey yellow brick building on Thursday afternoon, stating that Suu Kyi was being detained inside the prison at the site. 

One-storey yellow brick building inside Naypyitaw detention center (Mizzima)

According to the BBC’s Burmese service, the military council arranged for Suu Kyi to have three attending female prison staff, and that she had not brought her beloved pet dog Taichido to the new location. 

During a previous period of detention under the rule of an earlier junta led by Than Shwe, Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest but briefly held at the notorious Insein Prison in Yangon. 

It was still unclear at the time of reporting whether ousted President Win Myint, who was arrested with the State Counsellor last year, would also be moved to the same Zabuthiri Township prison. Like Suu Kyi, he has also been detained at an undisclosed location in Naypyitaw since being taken into junta custody on the morning of the February 2021 coup. 

The BBC reported that the President would be summoned to the same prison court as Suu Kyi for hearings concerning electoral fraud charges that had been filed against them both.

The junta hit the State Counsellor with a slew of charges after her arrest, sentencing the leader of the elected National League for Democracy administration to a total of 11 years in prison for six of the 19 charges filed against her since the coup. 

The offences for which she has already been convicted include incitement, the breaching of Covid-19 public health restrictions, the possession of unlicensed communications equipment, and corruption.  

Calls to military spokesperson Gen Zaw Min Tun for information concerning Aung San Suu Kyi’s location went unanswered. Citing the general, junta mouthpieces on Thursday reported that she had been moved to the prison in accordance with criminal procedure because she had been convicted of the charges filed against her. 

The junta has issued a gag order against the State Counsellor’s legal team in a bid to prevent updates about her case from reaching the public. 

List of charges filed by Myanmar junta against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi as of April (Myanmar Now)

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