Myanmar court postpones Aung San Suu Kyi verdict

Ousted Myanmar leader faces charges of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions

Sravasti Dasgupta
Tuesday 30 November 2021 12:23

Related: Myanmar set for closing arguments in Aung San Suu Kyi trial

A Myanmar court on Tuesday postponed its verdict in the trial of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 76-year-old Nobel laureate, who was arrested after the military captured power in February, faces charges of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions. Ms Suu Kyi faces three years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

The court postponed the verdict after it agreed to a defence motion to allow an additional testimony by a doctor.

Proceedings will continue in the special court in the military-built capital Naypyidaw on 6 December, when the new witness Dr Zaw Myint Maung, who had not been able to come to court earlier, is expected to give his testimony.

However, it remains unclear when the court will deliver its verdict in the case.

Ms Suu Kyi also faces trials for a host of other charges, including corruption, which could send her to prison for dozens of years if convicted.

The cases are widely seen as an attempt to keep Ms Suu Kyi from running in the next election. Under the Myanmar constitution, anyone sentenced to prison is barred from holding high office or becoming a lawmaker.

Her trials have also been shrouded in secrecy, with journalists barred from the proceedings. The only source of information on the legal proceedings were Ms Suu Kyi’s lawyers, who have also been silenced after a gag order was issued in October to stop them from releasing information.

While the court has postponed delivering a verdict in the case, the trials of several members of Ms Suu Kyi’s party and government have wrapped up in recent weeks.

Myanmar witnessed four decades of military rule before Ms Suu Kyi became the head of the government in 2015. Her party, the National League for Democracy, won the country’s first openly held general elections by a landslide victory, securing a majority in both houses.

In November 2020, when she secured a second term, the military alleged irregularities in voting. In February this year, the military staged a coup and declared a state of emergency imposing a house arrest on Ms Suu Kyi.

The army’s takeover was met with nationwide protests and a brutal crackdown, which has killed nearly 1,300 civilians, according to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Additional reporting by agencies

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