Suu Kyi says NLD will ‘continue to exist’ regardless of junta ban 

Aung San Suu Kyi insisted in a message to the public via her lawyers on Monday that her National League for Democracy (NLD) party will continue to exist even if the coup regime disbands it.

The deposed leader made the remarks during an in-person meeting with her defence team, the first she has been allowed since she was detained when the military toppled her government on February 1. 

The meeting took place ahead of a court hearing inside the Naypyitaw Council Office compound in the capital city on Monday morning. Her previous hearings were all held via video link. 

“She said she was praying for everyone to get well. She passed the message that the NLD party was founded for the people and it will continue to exist as long as the people are there,” said defence lawyer Min Min Soe.

On Friday the junta-appointed election commission chair, Thein Soe, suggested the NLD should be disbanded and its leaders prosecuted as “traitors” during a meeting with representatives from political parties in Naypyitaw.

The military has repeatedly suggested, without evidence, that the NLD’s massive landslide victory in last year’s election was the result of widespread voter fraud. 

Suu Kyi’s meeting with her lawyers lasted about half an hour. They were allowed to talk alone but were under surveillance, according to Min Min Soe. 

“Nobody came in and we could meet her privately. But there were CCTV cameras,” she said.

Khin Maung Zaw, who is head of the defence team, told journalists after the hearing that Suu Kyi does not know exactly where she is being detained.

In late February NLD sources told Myanmar Now she had been taken from her home in Naypyitaw to an undisclosed location. Before then, the military kept her at her house on Myebon Thar street in Zabuthiri township.

Suu Kyi appeared to be in good health but has only been allowed to “eat and sleep” and has been cut off from the outside world completely, according to her lawyers.

Min Min Soe said Suu Kyi was not wearing flowers in her hair–as she has done throughout her political career–during Monday’s meeting.

No arguments were heard during the hearing that followed; the judge simply scheduled the next hearing for June 7. The deposed State Counsellor complained to court officials about the duration of the meeting with her lawyers but received no response from them, the defence team said.

The 75-year-old faces a total of six charges; five in Naypyitaw and one in Yangon. 

She is accused of illegally importing walkie-talkies, of defying Covid-19 regulations while campaigning in last year’s election, and of violating the Telecommunication Law.

The regime also hit her with a charge under a section of the 1923 Official Secrets Act that bans handling or sharing state information that is “useful to an enemy.”

On Monday the cases of detained president Win Myint and Naypyitaw Council chair Myo Aung were also heard and they were allowed to meet with their lawyers.


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