She appeared by videoconference in front of a court in Naypyidaw, the capital. Former Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, detained since the military coup of February 1, was accused Thursday April 1 of violating a law on state secrets dating from the colonial era. Her defense team had seen her the day before by video and under police surveillance for the first time since the putsch.
“She called for a meeting between her and her lawyers – a private meeting to instruct her defense and discuss the case without outside interference from the police or the armed forces.”, said one of his tips. The next hearing is set for April 12.
The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate is also being prosecuted for “inciting public unrest”. Charges of collecting more than a million dollars and 11 kilos of gold in bribes are added, but she has not yet been charged with “corruption”. If found guilty, she faces long years in prison, risking being banned from political life.
At the same time, authorities have ordered service providers to suspend wireless internet connections in the country. “until further notice”, said a telecommunications operator. They have already ordered the suspension of mobile data transfers and this new cut risks paralyzing online communications in the country where very few people have access to fixed lines.
This “Internet shutdown” was condemned Thursday by dozens of UN member countries who denounced, in a statement drafted by Lithuania, France and Greece, “the attacks” against the media in the country. More than 535 people, including many students, adolescents and young children, were killed by security forces in two months, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). Hundreds of others, held incommunicado, are missing.
During an emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday requested by London, the UN envoy for Burma, Christine Schraner Burgener, warned against “a risk of civil war at an unprecedented level”, urging to “consider all the means at its disposal to (…) avoid a multidimensional disaster in the heart of Asia”.