News mail Desk:- The trial of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi got underway yesterday, more than four months after a military coup, with junta witnesses testifying the Nobel laureate flouted coronavirus restrictions and illegally imported walkie-talkies. Near daily protests have rocked Myanmar since the generals’ February 1 putsch. A mass uprising has been met with a brutal military crackdown that has killed more than 850 civilians, according to a local monitoring group.
The junta has brought an eclectic raft of charges against the Nobel laureate, including claims she accepted illegal payments of gold and violated a colonial-era secrecy law. Yesterday, the court heard a police force major testify that Suu Kyi broke coronavirus restrictions during last year’s elections that her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won in a landslide, her lawyer Min Min Soe told AFP.
Another police major testified on separate charges accusing her of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, she added. Suu Kyi “paid keen attention” throughout the hearing, another member of her legal team, Khin Maung Zaw said in a statement. Journalists were barred from proceedings in the special court in the capital Naypyidaw, but an AFP reporter said there was a heavy police presence outside.
Suu Kyi’s lawyers — who have struggled to gain access to their client — have said they expect the trial to wrap up by July 26. A separate trial is scheduled to start yesterday over sedition charges she faces alongside ousted president Win Myint and another senior member of the NLD. Meanwhile, the junta rejected criticism by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet over its use of deadly force against protesters. Yesterday saw the release of a American journalist detained since March after charges against him were dropped, his lawyer told AFP. Nathan Maung, who founded the local Kamayut Media outlet, has been detained under a colonial-era law that criminalises encouraging dissent against the military.