Suu Kyi’s lawyer says case cannot proceed without in-person meeting with her client 

The lawyer of the ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi once again demanded an in-person meeting with her client at the eastern district court in Yangon on Thursday, saying the case could not proceed without one.

Suu Kyi, her economic advisor Sean Turnell, and three of her cabinet members were charged with breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act at the court in late March. The law carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Former planning and finance minister Kyaw Win, his successor Soe Win, and deputy minister Set Aung were also accused of violating Section 3(1)(c) of the 1923 law. 

The section criminalises the possession, collection, recording, publishing, or sharing of state information that is “directly or indirectly useful to an enemy.”

Lawyer San Marlar Nyunt, who is representing both Suu Kyi and Set Aung, said that Turnell is accused of being the main offender in the case. The Australian national served as Suu Kyi’s economic advisor before the February 1 coup. 

San Marlar Nyunt said that she did not see Suu Kyi and Set Aung via video link at Thursday’s hearing. The judge informed her that Suu Kyi also demanded an in-person meeting with her lawyers, she said.

“We submitted a request to the judge today to grant a physical meeting with the accused… I also didn’t see any lawyer representing Sean and am not sure whether he has hired a lawyer either,” she told Myanmar Now.

She said the judge will decide at the next hearing, scheduled for May 20, whether or not to grant an in-person meeting. 

“We can proceed with the case only after the client and their lawyers meet. It is a must according to court procedures,” San Marlar Nyunt said.

Suu Kyi, 75, faces a total of six charges; five in Naypyitaw and one in Yangon, and a prison sentence of up to 26 years.

Besides the Official Secret Act charge, she has been accused of importing walkie-talkies in violation of the Export and Import Law, of incitement, and of violating the Telecommunication Law.

The regime also hit Suu Kyi with two charges of violating Covid-19 protocols while campaigning in last year’s election.


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