Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s ousted de facto civilian leader, returned to a courtroom in the capital, Naypyidaw, Tuesday to stand trial on two of the most serious corruption-related charges brought against her by the military junta that overthrew her government earlier this year.
The 75-year-old Suu Kyi is facing charges of violating the Official Secrets Act, accepting illegal payments of $600,000 in cash plus 11 kilograms of gold and misusing land for her charitable foundation.
A separate hearing was held Monday on charges of illegally possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating the country’s Natural Disaster Management Law for breaking COVID-19 restrictions while campaigning during last year’s parliamentary elections.
Khin Maung Zaw, Suu Kyi’s attorney, issued a statement saying Suu Kyi did not appear to be well but “seemed quite interested and paid keen attention” during Monday proceedings.
The attorney said former President U Win Myint also went on trial Monday for violating the Natural Disaster Law.
Lawyers have told reporters they expect the current trial to last until the end of July.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, has been detained since February 1, when her civilian government was overthrown nearly three months after her National League for Democracy party scored a landslide victory in the elections.
The junta has cited widespread electoral fraud in the November 8 election as a reason for the coup, an allegation the civilian electoral commission denied. The junta has threatened to dissolve the NLD over the allegations.
The coup triggered a crisis in the Southeast Asian country that led to deadly anti-junta demonstrations and clashes between several armed ethnic groups and the ruling junta.
In a campaign to quell the protests, the government has killed more than 800 protesters and bystanders since the takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which tracks casualties and arrests in Myanmar.