Two more charges filed against Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar

Protesters hold signs of detained Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 26, 2021.
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A Myanmar court on Monday levied two additional charges against former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested earlier this year after a military coup deposed the nation’s government.

Suu Kyi had initially been charged with illegal importation of walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus protocols. On Monday, the court added two more charges: one accusing her of violating a colonial-era prohibition on spreading information likely to “cause fear or alarm” and the other alleging she violated national telecom laws on equipment licensing, the Nobel laureate’s lawyer, Min Min Soe, told Reuters

Suu Kyi appeared before the court via video conferencing, where she “look[ed] healthy” and “asked to meet her lawyer,” the attorney told Reuters.

Critics of Myanmar’s military junta have slammed the charges as trumped-up and an attempt to silence opposition. The hearing came the same day police deployed stun grenades and tear gas at a crowd of protesters in the city of Yangon.

Protests have been a daily occurrence since the military took control. Junta leaders alleged a landslide victory in November elections by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party was the result of fraud and refused to allow them to take their seats in parliament.

The United Nations’ human rights office has said police response to the protests have grown increasingly violent and said police killed at least 18 people Sunday when they fired into a crowd. A government-in-exile of elected lawmakers has put the figure as high as 26, but Reuters has been unable to confirm it.

Meanwhile, Facebook, which has been blamed for enabling the ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, announced last week that Myanmar state media entities have been banned from the platform.

“Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban. We believe the risks of allowing the [military government] on Facebook and Instagram are too great,” Facebook’s director of policy for Asia-Pacific emerging countries, Rafael Frankel, said in a blog post last week. 

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