Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was transferred Wednesday from a secret detention location to a prison in the country’s capital, legal officials familiar with her case said. Her ongoing court cases will be tried at a new facility constructed in the prison compound, they said.
Suu Kyi was arrested on Feb. 1, 2021, when the army seized power from her elected government. She was initially held at her residence in the capital, but was later moved to at least one other location, and for about the past year has been held at an undisclosed location in the capital, Naypyitaw, generally assumed to be on a military base.
She has been tried on multiple charges, including corruption, at a special court in Naypyitaw that began hearings on May 24, 2021. Each of the 11 corruption counts she faces is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Already she has been sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment after being convicted on charges of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions. In addition to the corruption cases that are underway, she also has been charged with election fraud and violating the Officials Secrets Act.
Suu Kyi’s supporters and rights groups say the charges against her are politically motivated and are an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s seizure of power while keeping her from returning to politics.
Many senior members of her government and party were also arrested and tried, and several are co-defendants in some of her cases. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a private organization that tracks government killings and arrests, a total of 11,174 people are currently in detention for suspected opposition to the ruling military council.
Suu Kyi, who turned 77 on Sunday, spent about 15 years in detention under a previous military government, but virtually all of it was under house arrest at her family home in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.—AFP