Ex-Myanmar president says army tried to force him to cede power hours before coup

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Myanmar’s deposed president testified on Tuesday that the military tried to force him to relinquish power hours before its Feb. 1 coup, warning him he could be seriously harmed if he refused, according to his lawyer.

The testimony of Win Myint, his first public comments since he was overthrown, challenges the military’s insistence that no coup took place, and that power had been lawfully transferred to the generals by an acting president.

Win Myint was testifying alongside Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate and de facto government leader before the coup, at their trial on Tuesday on charges including incitement, stemming from letters bearing their names that were sent to embassies urging them not to recognise the junta.

Win Myint, who was Myanmar’s head of state, told the court in the capital Naypitaw that senior military officials approached him on Feb. 1 and told him to resign due to ill health.

“The president turned down their proposal, saying he was in good health,” defence lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said in an English-language text message sent to reporters, citing his testimony.—Reuters

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