Aung San Suu Kyi facing new charge in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi facing new charge in Myanmar
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Myanmar’s military junta has filed an additional charge against former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom it detained in early February during the country’s military coup.

Khin Maung Zaw, an attorney for Suu Kyi, said police have charged her with violating coronavirus safety measures, which comes with a maximum sentence of three years, but she could be held indefinitely under the junta’s new rules.

Suu Kyi’s attorney said his client spoke with the judge in her case via videoconference before her attorney was in the courtroom, saying he was not informed the conference was taking place.

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The Nobel Prize winner’s initial Feb. 1 detention was on charges of illegally possessing walkie-talkies, according to The Associated Press.

Suu Kyi’s detention and the coup itself have sparked widespread international concerns as well as mass demonstrations in Myanmar’s major cities. The junta has banned gatherings of five or more people.

Security forces fired rubber bullets into a crowd of about 1,000 in Mandalay on Monday, according to the AP, while a crowd of about 3,000 hit the streets of the city Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, protesters demonstrated in Yangon, the country’s largest city.

State media has given the protests only cursory acknowledgments. Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said the junta is “handling the ongoing problems with care,” according to the AP.

The military ordered a near-total blackout of internet access on Sunday and Monday and has drafted legislation that would severely curtail allowable online activity.

The coup took place against the backdrop of several members of Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, preparing to take seats in Parliament before the junta accused them of winning through fraud and preventing the session from starting. Some members of the party have established a de facto government in exile, and some members of the junta are reportedly considering action against it as well, according to the AP.

--Updated at 10:24 a.m.