Lawyers for State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi say they are facing difficulties finding defence witnesses to testify on her behalf regarding incitement charges filed by the junta.
Suu Kyi is accused by the military council of violating Section 505b of the penal code, a charge related to committing a legal offence against the state, the head of her legal team Khin Maung Zaw told Myanmar Now.
“No one will serve as her witness in the case because they will then be targeted [by the junta]. We will not use many witnesses,” he said. “These matters will only be based on legal facts.”
Khin Maung Zaw refrained from citing which legal references would be used in Suu Kyi’s defence.
A specially designated court in Naypyitaw headed by Zabuthiri Township judge Maung Maung Lwin issued an official indictment against Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and Naypyitaw mayor Dr. Myo Aung on September 21 regarding the Section 505b charge.
All three ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders were represented by the same team of five lawyers, and they pleaded not guilty.
In the most recent hearing on Tuesday, Suu Kyi and her legal team were instructed to submit a list of witnesses expected to testify in the case by October 5.
“Now, all I can say is that the number of witnesses will not be that many,” lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said.
Suu Kyi was able to meet with her lawyers for more than two hours on Tuesday morning, according to the legal team.
The 505b charge is based on sentiments expressed in statements released by the NLD central executive committee on February 7 and 13 following the February 1 military coup that forced out the elected NLD-led government.
The first statement urged the international community not to recognise the junta that overthrew the NLD’s administration. The second declared all regulations and laws enacted by the military council to be illegal.
The defence’s legal team rejected the allegations in previous hearings, pointing out that their clients—who were arrested on the day of the coup—were already detained at the time that the statements were released. The appeal was rejected by the court.
A conviction for violating Section 505b carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.
There are a total of 11 charges against Suu Kyi. Nine of these cases have been heard in the Naypyitaw council compound created by the junta specifically to process charges against the deposed leader. Five are heard weekly on Monday and Tuesday, and four are heard biweekly, every other Friday.
The charge related to an alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act will be heard every Thursday in Naypyitaw’s Dekkhina District Court.
At the time of reporting it was still unknown how the junta would process the corruption case filed in the Yangon Region High Court.
Source: Myanmar Now