Deposited by coup leaders last February, the icon of the nationalist democratic opposition party has been inundated with accusations, ranging from illegal importation of walkie talkies to corruption
Aung San Suu Kyi is not well. The Burmese leader, deposed by the government of the Asian country after the military coup in February, announced that she was suffering from a nervous breakdown a few days after the first appearance in the court of Naipyidaw, which will be in charge of judging the charges against its load. The 76-year-old, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1991, has relied on her lawyers to report that, due to her fragile health situation, she will ask for hearings concerning her to be held every two weeks rather than weekly, as previously agreed.
Since the advent of the military, her traces had literally been lost: imprisoned in her home in Naipyidaw, for months it was no longer possible to see her in public or to have certain information about her health conditions, made known by the woman’s spokespersons. Currently, Suu Kyi’s clinical picture remains monitored daily by a medical team.
Suu Kyi’s “punishment”: the charges
From the court of the capital they let it be known that the answer will arrive next week; Meanwhile, Suu Kyi remains under house arrest, a regime in which she has been confined since the days of the rise to power of General Min Haung Hlaing. At the time, the accusation was that of having illegally imported walkie talkie radios into his country, violating the national legislation on import-export. The coup authorities had motivated the arrest by adding that the radios found in the leader’s residence had been smuggled into the country and subsequently used them without permission.
This first charge was followed by the indictments for violating the law on telecommunications, the one on the disputed management of natural disasters together with the politician Win Myint and the one relating to the limitations imposed on the country during the last election campaign, which took place in full pandemic and overwhelmingly won by the National League for Democracy.
With these first accusations, the trial of Suu Kyi orchestrated by the government of the generals opened on June 14. Later, the much more serious sedition, or instigation to revolt, also emerged, along with new accusations for the violation of the law on natural disasters. For these cases, the overall sentence for the leader would amount to more than ten years in prison.
The leader pleaded not guilty to the sedition. Attorney Khin Maung Zaw added that Suu Kyi “appeared to be in good health” a week after missing a hearing because she was not feeling well.
There were also suspicions of corruption during his administration, involving alleged illegal payments worth $ 600,000 and 11 kilos of gold worth $ 680,000. For such accusations, in case of guilt, Suu Kyi would risk up to 15 years.
Furthermore, in June, the military junta had opened new investigations for corruption attributable to the improper use of some lands belonging to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity of which the woman was at the top. Almost all the files opened against him will be tried in the capital, while only one is the responsibility of Yangon.
In September, the desertion of a hearing due to an illness caused concern. Suu Kyi’s lawyer revealed that her client had complained of dizziness, drowsiness and lightheadedness after traveling from the house where she is imprisoned to the courtroom, which remains unspecified and closely monitored. It is clear that the nine months of imprisonment and total isolation from the world have greatly aggravated the conditions of the woman.
A country on the edge of the abyss for months
The cascade of proceedings against the leaders of the National League for Democracy is the unequivocal sign that Suu Kyi remains the main threat to the coup leaders, who have launched a campaign of sweeping arrests since the beginning of the year. The woman still enjoys great support among the population, who had flocked to the streets of the capital to protest in the aftermath of her arrest. Also in February, the military had taken Suu Kyi’s closest collaborator, Win Htein, who was arrested while he was at her daughter’s home.
The political crisis in Burma remains the accelerator of a transversal collapse of the country, whose situation is increasingly shaky. First of all, the repression at the beginning of the year, in which over a thousand people died. Over 8,000 were those arrested by the military, of which 100 died in prison. To the factor of political instability is added the health crisis brought about by Covid, which has jeopardized the functioning of the system as a whole. The economy is also collapsing: the kyat, has lost 60% of its value in recent weeks.