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Myanmar Crisis

Suu Kyi trial heads to witness examination phase

Military sets stage to eliminate pro-democracy forces ahead of elections

Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved to an undisclosed location since meeting with her legal team on June 7. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

BANGKOK/YANGON -- Prosecutors on Monday began examining witnesses in the trial of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a special court set up in the capital Naypyitaw, while elsewhere in the country the military appears to be taking steps to outlaw Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

Suu Kyi faces five counts of alleged violations, including for importing walkie-talkies without a license and for defying COVID-19 countermeasures.

In a separate court in Yangon, Suu Kyi is on trial for allegedly violating a colonial-era state secrets act.

According to Thursday's edition of a state-operated newspaper, Suu Kyi was charged under an anti-corruption law, with police opening case files against her and her colleagues. She is alleged to have received bribes from a then-local government leader. In addition, a foundation she is involved with allegedly leased publicly owned land at an unfairly low rate.

Suu Kyi is being held at an undisclosed location and has not been allowed to communicate with anyone on the outside.

In late May she was transferred to an undisclosed location from her own house in Naypyitaw.

In a meeting with attorneys on June 7, she asked them to obtain medications that she was running low on.

According to defense attorneys, prosecutors and Suu Kyi's defense team are to complete their arguments in all five cases by the end of July.

Meanwhile, the military is increasing its control of political parties. In Monday's edition of the state-owned newspaper, a report accused NLD lawmakers of being "the main manipulators" behind purchases of arms and ammunition, in setting off explosives and in arranging for youths to attend military training conducted by an armed ethnic force. The military is believed to be considering a plan to disband the NLD based on the political party registration law. It could also potentially name it an illegal organization.

The military has said it plans to hold a general election after lifting the state of emergency. The military is believed to be preparing a favorable scenario for the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party.

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