Aung San Suu Kyi Makes Rare Court Appearance By Video Link

She has not been seen in public or heard from since her arrest on Feb. 1.
March 1, 2021, 7:28am
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar
Aung San Suu Kyi arrives for an unannounced visit to restive Rakhine state in 2017. PHOTO: AFP / STRINGER 

Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly attended a court hearing via closed video link on Monday and was hit with new charges, according to her defence team, who said she looked healthy.

The junta has kept the 75-year-old leader under house arrest in the capital Naypyitaw since detaining her and overthrowing the civilian government on Feb. 1, ending a decade-long experiment with democracy. Her close ally President Win Myint is also on trial on a number of charges. 

The rare appearance came as Myanmar descended into deadly violence over the weekend. At least 18 people were killed and 30 others injured during protests on Sunday, UN rights officials said, marking the bloodiest day since nationwide demonstrations swept the country. Rallies continued on Monday as police tried to disperse protesters with tear gas in Yangon, according to social media images.

In February, Suu Kyi was charged with possessing illegal walkie-talkies days after the coup unfolded, then with violating coronavirus health protocols.

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During Monday’s hearing, which was not broadcast publicly, an additional charge of incitement was filed against Suu Kyi and Win Myint, Reuters reported. She also appears to have been accused of violating the telecommunications act in an additional charge related to the walkie-talkies.

The next hearing is scheduled for Mar. 15. 

Rights groups have dismissed charges against her as bogus.

Khin Maung Zaw, part of Suu Kyi’s legal team, previously told VICE World News that he had been trying to establish contact with Suu Kyi and had not been able to meet her yet. 

The case is the latest chapter in the extraordinary life of Suu Kyi, who went from Nobel laureate under house arrest to military apologist after the Rohingya crisis in 2017. 

But she remains popular across broad swathes of the country. Her stature has fueled the protest movement even as the uprising remains leaderless and not focused on her entirely.