More than four months after the coup in Myanmar, the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi began today. Experts talked about a false trial that the army hopes to use to deal with the popular former government leader. At the same time, the United Nations is warning of humanitarian crises caused by military violence against insurgents and civilians.
Her legal team said that Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, appeared weak in court. Nevertheless, according to her lawyer, she remained vigilant during the interrogation. In the next period of time, she will have to appear many times: a series of charges against her are under trial.
The Nobel Prize winner was charged today in a special court in the capital Naypyidaw on charges of “illegal possession” of a walkie-talkie during the election campaign and violating corona rules. Her party won the parliamentary election with a large number of people last year, but the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi is now in danger of being shut down due to alleged fraud.
According to human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, the allegations against Aung San Suu Kyi are fabricated. They will also distract attention from emergency situations in Southeast Asian countries.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Friday that fighting is intensifying in many parts of the country. She called it a “human rights disaster” and blamed it on the leadership of the military.
Bachelet said there are credible reports of human rights violations: churches and houses were shelled, civilians were used as living shields, and humanitarian aid workers were attacked. In Kayah State, which borders only Thailand, at least 108,000 people have been displaced within three weeks. According to the United Nations, they cannot get emergency assistance.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the refugee wave soon surpassed the Rohingya crisis,” the Dutchman Ole Chavannes refers to the more than 1 million Rohingya who fled the country due to military violence a few years ago. Chavannes is a reporter for the independent news channel The Voice of Democracy in Myanmar (DVB) and regularly visits Myanmar until the coup in February.
“For a few weeks, you have seen an increase in violence. More and more bombs are exploding and more and more soldiers are killed in ambushes. On the contrary, you have seen the army react more intensely and more aerial bombardments. End into a full-scale civil war. Become,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that in various states, various rebel movements have been fighting government forces for decades. Some of these groups said they hope to cooperate with the protest movement against the perpetrators of the coup. Because some civilians also took up weapons among the demonstrators.
‘Divide and conquer’
“But because everything is so scattered, it’s difficult to form a joint combat force,” NOS reporter Annemarie Kas said. Nevertheless, some militias have united. Chavannes said that given the history of Myanmar, this is very remarkable.
“People let themselves compete with each other,” he explained. So far, Tatmadaw has been in power for decades. According to the Dutch, the conflicts between the various ethnic groups in the country, whether they arise or not, are always resolved. For example, the Rohingya minority is marked as a group of illegal invaders from abroad.
“The army always emphasizes differences and calls itself a great protector, in other words: divide and conquer. Even if the people of Myanmar are not fully united now, the impulse to do so is much greater,” Chavanes said. The main motivation is a common aversion to military rulers.
By the way, there are also peaceful protests against the military dictatorship every day. But after a wave of deadly violence against protesters by security forces, citizens have become more cautious.
“They no longer take to the streets in the thousands, but organize flash mob protests,” reporter Cass explained. “Then you will see, for example, protesters holding banners running in the street for a while. Their pictures are widely circulated on social media, so you see that the antipathy to the military is completely present.”
The majority of the population still regards the elected Aung San Suu Kyi as the true leader of the country. But if the court in Naypyidaw finds her guilty, she will face 15 years in prison or house arrest. The hearing should end at the end of July, and a verdict is expected to be delivered before the end of this year.