(FILE) - Demonstrators hold a portrait of detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi while flashing the three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, during an anti- military protest at Hledan junction in Yangon, Myanmar, 08 February 2021. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

Supreme Court hears jailed Myanmar democracy icon Suu Kyi’s appeal

Bangkok Desk, July 5 (EFE).- Myanmar’s Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the first appeals filed by the ousted democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to 33 years in prison on various charges after the military coup in 2021.

In a closed hearing, the Nobel peace laureate’s lawyers appealed against the sentences handed down for committing electoral fraud, for which she is serving three years in prison, and for violating the Official Secrets Act, which carried an additional three-year sentence, a judicial source told EFE.

The court has two months to announce its decision, according to local media.

According to the Singapore channel Channel News Asia, citing anonymous sources close to the proceedings, the court will hold a second appeal hearing next Wednesday to address the convictions for corruption offenses, while on July 18 it will deal with the remaining charges.

Suu Kyi’s lawyers, who have been banned by the ruling military junta from speaking to the media, have said the charges brought against her are a fabrication.

Suu Kyi, 77, who is imprisoned in Naypyidaw, has racked up a total of 33 years of sentences as a result of a series of trials on nearly 20 charges following the coup that saw the military, which ruled the country from 1962 until 2011, topple the democratically elected government on February 1, 2021.

The elected leader, who was arrested during the first hours of the uprising, has been found guilty on charges such as violating the laws against the pandemic, the illegal importation of “walkie talkies”, and multiple accusations of corruption, among others.

The  coup, which overthrew the democratic government led by Suu Kyi, has plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social and economic crisis and unleashed a spiral of violence with new civilian militias that have exacerbated the guerrilla war that the country has been living with for decades.

The Army said the coup was justified because Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, committed massive fraud when it swept the general elections in November 2020.

At least 3,745 people have been killed by the brutal repression by the security forces, who have shot to kill peaceful and unarmed demonstrators, and more than 19,300 remain in detention, according to data from the Burmese NGO Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP). EFE

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