BANGKOK (NWN) – A Myanmar court prepares to deliver its verdict on Tuesday in the trial of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was accused of disturbing public order and spreading information that violated coronavirus restrictions.
It is the first court ruling for the 76-year-old Nobel laureate since the military seized power on February 1, arrested him and barred his National League for Democracy party from starting a second term in office.
He also faces trial on several other charges, including corruption, which could send him up to dozens of years in prison if convicted.
The cases are widely seen as a conspiracy to defame him and prevent him from running in the next election. The Constitution prohibits anyone from holding a high office or becoming an MLA when sentenced to prison.
His party had won a landslide victory in last November’s general election. The Sena, whose ally lost several seats, claimed that there had been widespread voting fraud, but independent election observers did not detect any major irregularities.
Suu Kyi is widely popular and symbolizes the struggle against military rule.
According to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the military takeover was met with nationwide non-violent demonstrations, which were destroyed with deadly force by security forces, in which around 1,300 civilians were killed.
Armed resistance in cities and rural areas has escalated to the point where UN experts warn the country is slipping into civil war, with severe restrictions on nonviolent protest.
Suu Kyi, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her nonviolent struggle for democracy, has not been seen in public since being detained on the day of the military takeover. She has appeared in court in several of her cases, which are closed to the media and the audience.
In October, Suu Kyi’s lawyers, who were her only source of information about the legal proceedings, were ordered to refuse to release the information.