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Human Rights Watch: Suu Kyi Being Tried on 'Bogus' Charges

Human Rights Watch says charges are a ploy to keep her from running for election again
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 14, 2021 4:36 PM CDT

(Newser)

Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial Monday on charges that many observers say are an attempt by the junta that deposed her to eliminate her as a political force, erase the country’s democratic gains, and cement the military’s power. Suu Kyi's prosecution poses yet another major setback for Myanmar, which had been making slow progress toward democracy when a February coup prevented elected lawmakers from her National League for Democracy party from taking office following last year's landslide victory. Human Rights Watch said that the allegations being heard in a special court in the capital, Naypyitaw, are "bogus and politically motivated" with the intention of nullifying the victory and preventing Suu Kyi from running for office again. What you need to know, per the AP:

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  • "This trial is clearly the opening salvo in an overall strategy to neuter Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy party as a force that can challenge military rule in the future," said Phil Robertson, the organization's deputy Asia director.
  • The army seized power on Feb. 1 before the new lawmakers could be seated, and arrested Suu Kyi, who held the post of special counsellor, along with President Win Myint and other members of her government and ruling party.
  • The Southeast Asian country went seemingly overnight from an emerging democracy to the international pariah it had been for decades while under military rule.
  • The army justified its coup by alleging the government failed to properly investigate accusations of voting irregularities. Since then it has said it has found evidence of fraud—an assertion contested by the independent Asian Network for Free Elections and many others.
  • Junta officials have threatened to dissolve the National League for Democracy and any conviction for Suu Kyi could see her barred from politics.
(Read more Aung San Suu Kyi stories.)

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