Suu Kyi’s legal team seeks meeting as trial delayed until September

Lawyers representing Myanmar’s ousted civilian leaders say they will seek permission to meet with their clients as their trials are delayed again until September.

Attorney Khin Maung Zaw, who leads the defence team for State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, said that the latest postponement of her trial was attributed by the court to surging Covid-19 cases in the country.

He added that it has been more than six weeks since his team last met with her, apart from two occasions when they were allowed to deliver food and other essential items.

“We need to discuss ongoing charges with them as well as the additional charges that have been laid against them. We also have to get their legal permission for the new cases as well,” said the lawyer, who also represents deposed President Win Myint and Myo Aung, the former mayor of Naypyitaw.

Suu Kyi has now been in detention for nearly seven months. She faces a total of 11 separate charges that could see her sentenced to more than four decades in prison.

She has been kept mostly out of sight during this time, but ahead of her most recent court appearances, she was allowed 30-minute meetings with her defence team at a Naypyitaw Council building.

The last such meeting took place on July 12, when the defence team learned she had been charged with four additional counts of corruption at the Mandalay Region High Court.

Her lawyers do not have power of attorney to defend her against the new charges, which they need in order to find out the details of each lawsuit.

Khin Maung Zaw said his team would submit its request for new meetings to the Zabuthiri Township police chief, who has been acting as a liaison between the lawyers and the ruling military council.

Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint were first charged on February 16 after being accused of importing walkie-talkies in violation of the Export and Import Law and breaching Covid-19 restrictions while campaigning in last year’s election.

Zabuthiri Township judge Maung Maung Lwin said on July 7 that the trial against Suu Kyi would have to be completed within 180 days, meaning the court was supposed to have issued its verdicts before the middle of August.

That time limit for the trial is no longer possible, said lawyer Khin Maung Zaw.

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