This case was postponed on Monday by a court in military-ruled Myanmar, according to a legal official familiar with the situation. Aung San Suu Kyi was accused of violating official procedures by allegedly importing and having in her possession walkie-talkies without permission.
The case against the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is one of many that have been brought against her since the army seized power on February 1, ousting her elected government and arresting high-ranking members of her National League for Democracy.
According to a legal official who insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution from authorities who have restricted the release of information about Aung San Suu Kyi’s trials, the court gave no reason for delaying the verdicts until January 10.
Last year’s general election saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party win by a landslide, but the military claimed widespread electoral fraud, which independent poll watchers dispute.
Supporters and analysts of Aung San Suu Kyi claimed that the charges leveled against her are politically motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s takeover of power while preventing her from returning to politics. More than 100 years in prison is possible if all charges against her are proven.
She was sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of incitement and violating COVID-19 restrictions on December 6th. Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military-installed government, reduced the sentence by half hours after it was handed down. The military has her in custody at an undisclosed location, where she is expected to serve out her sentence, according to reports on state television.
A white top and a brown longyi skirt provided by the authorities have been Suu Kyi’s attire for court appearances. The proceedings are private, and neither the prosecutors nor the media are permitted access. After serving gag orders on her lawyers in October, who had been a reliable source of information about the case, she was forced to go silent.
Suu Kyi’s initial detention was justified by a charge brought against her under the Export-Import Law alleging that she had improperly imported walkie-talkies. The following month, a new charge of illegal possession of the radios was brought.
During a search of her home and the barracks of her bodyguards on Feb. 1, the day she was arrested, the radios were seized.
Although Suu Kyi’s lawyers claimed the radios were not hers, the court refused to dismiss the charges against her because they were legitimately used to protect her.
Another case against Suu Kyi, involving alleged violations of COVID-19 restrictions during the last year’s election campaign, was heard by the court on Monday and included video testimony from the party’s vice-chairman, Zaw Myint Maung.
There were no virus restrictions violated when people came to see Zaw Myint Maung while she was in Shwe Kyar Pin Ward for the election campaign, according to the official, who said that Zaw Myint Maung had been unable to appear in court earlier because of her health.
The crime is covered by the Natural Disaster Management Law, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Five counts of corruption are also being brought against her in the same court. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint are accused of approving permits to rent and purchase a helicopter, but the case has not yet gone to trial.
If found guilty of breaking the Official Secrets Act, she could face up to 14 years in prison.
Additionally, in November, the Myanmar election commission filed new charges against Suu Kyi and 15 other politicians for alleged electoral fraud from the previous year. The charges brought by the Union Election Commission, which is run by the military, could lead to the dissolution of Suu Kyi’s party and prevent it from participating in the new elections that the military has promised will be held within two years of its takeover.
National demonstrations against the military takeover were met with deadly force by security forces, killing nearly 1,400 civilians according to a comprehensive list compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPPP).
U.N. experts have warned the country could be on the verge of civil war as peaceful protests continue, but armed resistance has also grown.