Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked the people of Myanmar to stay “united” in the face of military rule, her lawyers said Tuesday, as she reappeared in a junta court.
The Nobel laureate, and daughter of independence hero General Aung San, has been under house arrest since a February coup that sparked huge pro-democracy protests the junta has tried to crush with deadly force. Invisible to the outside world bar a handful of courtroom appearances, Suu Kyi, 76, has been hit with an eclectic raft of charges. She could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on all counts.
On Tuesday, she heard testimony that she flouted coronavirus restrictions during elections her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide last year, her lawyer Min Min Soe told reporters. “She asked the people to stay united and be consistent,” she added. The specially-convened court in the capital Naypyidaw also heard testimony on a separate charge of sedition, although Suu Kyi’s legal team argued two documents submitted by the prosecution were inadmissible as they were unsigned. Former president Win Myint and senior NLD leader Myo Aung are also on trial for sedition and appeared beside Suu Kyi on Tuesday.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since Suu Kyi’s ouster, with huge protests, renewed clashes between the military and ethnic rebel armies in border regions, and an economy spiraling into freefall. Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has justified his power grab by citing alleged electoral fraud in the November poll won by the NLD. The military has cracked down brutally on dissent — shooting protesters, arresting suspected dissidents in night raids, shutting down news outlets, and rounding up journalists. More than 880 civilians have been killed, according to a local monitoring group.
Ethiopian troops destroy UNICEF equipment in Tigray Ethiopian soldiers destroyed UNICEF satellite equipment in war-torn Tigray on Monday, the UN agency said in a statement condemning the attack. “Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces entered our office in Mekele, Tigray, Ethiopia today and dismantled our VSAT equipment,” the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a statement, referring to satellite machinery. “UNICEF’s priority in Tigray, and across Ethiopia, is to help the most vulnerable children, including the 140,000 children already facing famine-like conditions.
We are not, and should never be a target,” the statement added. Spokesman for the UN secretary-general Stephane Dujarric condemned “any and all attacks on humanitarian workers and assets” during a daily press conference. “All parties must ensure the protection of civilians and all humanitarian assistance provided by the United Nations,” UNICEF warned earlier this month that tens of thousands of malnourished children were at risk of dying in the Tigray region, which has been mired in conflict between federal troops and the regional ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front since last November. Intense fighting has persisted throughout the region, with mounting reports of massacres and widespread sexual violence.
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