Myanmar’s Suu Kyi face new charges of electoral fraud as date set for verdict
(Reuters) – Myanmar’s military authorities on Tuesday announced detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be prosecuted for electoral fraud and abuse of power, preparing new charges as a judge set a date for delivering the first verdict in her trial.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi was one of 16 people, mostly former election commissioners, accused of involvement in “electoral processes, electoral fraud and lawless actions” some of which involved threatening local officials, according to Tuesday’s announcement in state media.
Suu Kyi, who was arrested in the hours before the military’s Feb. 1 coup, is facing 11 criminal cases with maximum sentences that total more than a century in jail. Those include corruption and violating the Official Secrets Act.
She appeared in court in the capital Naypyitaw on Tuesday during which a Nov. 30 date was set for delivering the first verdict in the cases against her, on the charge of incitement, according to a source with knowledge of the proceedings.
That case alleges Suu kyi and deposed President Win Myint were involved in the dissemination in the days after the coup of an unsigned letter bearing their names, which urged foreign countries not to recognise the junta.
They deny involvement because they were being held incommunicado at the time.
Their trials are taking place behind closed doors and defence lawyers, previously the only source of information on the proceedings, are currently the subjects of a gag order.
The military said it took power because its complaints of fraud by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, which won last year’s election in a landslide, were being ignored by the election commission. The NLD says it won fairly.
(Editing Martin Petty and Sanjeev Miglani)