Connecting Regions of Asia.

A Secret Trial In Myanmar

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The closed-door trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader who was ousted in a military coup two weeks ago, began in secret Tuesday. The defense lawyer was notified at the last minute about the court hearing. By the time he rushed to the court, it had ended.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi faces obscure charges that could land her in prison for six years: violating import restrictions after walkie-talkies and other foreign equipment were found in her villa compound along with a previously undisclosed charge of interacting with a crowd during the pandemic.

U Win Myint, the deposed president who also went on trial over charges of interacting with a crowd on Tuesday, could spend three years in prison if convicted.

Context: The first day of the trial followed two dizzying weeks during which the military stripped away civil liberties for the entire population, imprisoned hundreds, and ignored the millions protesting their seizure of power. “This is a fight for our future, the future of our country,” one youth activist told the South China Morning Post. “We want to establish a real federal union where all citizens, all ethnicities are treated equally.”

Protesters: Despite great personal risk, protesters meet daily, carrying posters and signs of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. A new law means protesters could face 20 years in jail, the BBC reports. A group of Buddhist monks has also joined the efforts, Reuters reports.

From Opinion: Democracy advocates “must use the current protests as leverage to obtain, via international negotiators, that the Tatmadaw won’t disband or otherwise sideline the N.L.D.,” Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, writes Min Zin, a political scientist in Yangon who was part of a 1988 democracy uprising.

Courtesy – NYT

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