Final verdicts from Suu Kyi junta trial set for Friday

YANGON (Reuters) – A court in Myanmar’s junta will deliver its verdict on Friday on the five remaining charges in the 18-month trial of jailed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a judicial source told AFP.
Suu Kyi has been a prisoner since the military overthrew her government in February last year, ending the Southeast Asian nation’s brief period of democracy.
The Nobel laureate, 77, has already been convicted of 14 counts ranging from bribery to the illegal importation of walkie-talkies and violation of the Official Secrets Act, and has been jailed for 26 years.
“Both sides presented their closing arguments today in court,” a source with knowledge of the case said on Monday, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
“There will be a verdict next Friday (30) December.”
Suu Kyi appeared in good health, the source added.
Rights groups have denounced the trial as a sham and on Wednesday the UN Security Council called on the junta to release Suu Kyi in its first resolution on the situation in Myanmar since the coup.
The resolution marked a moment of relative council unity after permanent members and close junta allies China and Russia abstained, opting not to exercise veto power over amendments to the wording.
The other five corruption charges Suu Kyi faces relate to hiring a helicopter for a government minister, a case in which she allegedly broke regulations and caused “a loss to the state”.
Each faces a maximum prison term of 15 years. In previous corruption cases, the court has typically sentenced Suu Kyi to three years per indictment.
Suu Kyi is currently imprisoned in a compound in the capital Naypyidaw, close to the courthouse where her trial is taking place, and has been deprived of her household staff and her dog Taichido.
Since the coup, she has largely disappeared from sight, visible only in grainy state media photos of the naked courtroom.
The country has been thrown into turmoil, with some established rebel ethnic groups resuming fighting with the army in border areas and the economy in tatters.
Dozens of “People’s Defense Forces” fleeing Suu Kyi’s strict policy of non-violence have also sprung up to fight the junta and have surprised the army with their effectiveness, analysts say.
There are almost daily killings of low-level junta officials or anti-coup fighters, with murky details and reprisals often following quickly.
Analysts say the junta may allow Suu Kyi to serve part of her sentence under house arrest as she prepares for elections she has announced will be held next year.
The military has alleged there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election resoundingly won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, although international observers said the ballot was widely held. free and fair.
More than 2,600 people have been killed in the army’s crackdown on dissent, according to a local watchdog group.
Rights groups have accused the army of extrajudicial killings and launching airstrikes on civilians that constitute war crimes.
The latest civilian death toll released by the junta is more than 4,000.


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