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Ousted Myanmar leader’s trial begins

Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the joint news conference of the Japan-Mekong Summit Meeting at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan October 9, 2018. Franck Robichon-Pool via Reuters-File Photo

The trial of Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi began on Monday, as the country’s military leaders continue to clamp down on unrest since their coup in February.

The 75-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate is accused of a dozen different crimes.

She has been under house arrest since the military coup on Feb. 1.

Observers believe that the military aims to silence Suu Kyi long-term, as she faces long sentences.

She is accused, among other things, of violating foreign trade rules and coronavirus rules, as well as of inciting unrest and misuse of land.

Most recently she has also been accused of corruption.

Suu Kyi’s lawyers said they would reveal details about the trial in the afternoon.

Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, described the charges against Suu Kyi as “bogus, and politically motivated by the intention to nullify her landslide election victory in the November 2020 election and prevent her from ever running for office again.”

“All these charges should be dropped, resulting in her immediate and unconditional release.

“But sadly, with the restrictions on access to her lawyers, and the case being heard in front of a court that is wholly beholden to the military junta, there is little likelihood she will receive a fair trial,” Robertson said.

Myanmar has sunk into chaos and violence since a military coup in early February.

The armed forces have brutally cracked down on any form of dissent.

According to the non-profit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least 863 people have been killed and more than 6,000 arrested.

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