Myanmar’s Suu Kyi testifies in election fraud trial

Jul 14, 2022, 2:49 PM | Updated: Jul 15, 2022, 2:55 am

FILE - Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves after the Central Executive Committee meeting at her ...

FILE - Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves after the Central Executive Committee meeting at her National League for Democracy (NLD) party headquarters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on July 21, 2020. Ousted Myanmar leader Suu Kyi denied the accusations in an election fraud charge against her when she testified for the first time on the case at the prison court in the capital Naypyitaw on Friday, July 15, 2022, a legal official said. (AP Photo, File)

(AP Photo, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi denied the accusations in an election fraud charge against her when she testified for the first time on the case Friday at the prison court in the capital Naypyitaw, a legal official said.

The army seized power from Suu Kyi’s elected government in February last year, claiming massive voting fraud in the 2020 general election, an allegation not corroborated by independent election observers.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won that election in a landslide, while the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party did poorly.

A conviction in the election fraud case could lead to Suu Kyi’s party being dissolved and unable to participate in a new election the military has promised will take place in 2023.

Suu Kyi has already been sentenced to 11 years in prison after being convicted on charges of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, sedition and a corruption charge.

Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent analysts say the charges are politically motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s seizure of power while keeping her from returning to politics.

Suu Kyi is being tried for multiple charges at a new facility constructed in the prison compound in the capital Naypyitaw, including the electoral fraud charge. She was transferred from a secret detention location to a custom-built solitary facility at a prison in Naypyitaw last month.

The penalty for the offense is three years’ imprisonment. Former President Win Myint and former Union Government Office Minister Min Thu are co-defendants in the case.

The election fraud charge was filed in November by the state Election Commission, whose members were appointed by the military government. The military dismissed the commission’s previous members, who had declared there were no major irregularities in the election.

The new commission accused the defendants, including its own former chairman, of being “involved in electoral processes, election fraud and lawless actions.”

A legal official familiar with Friday’s proceedings said Suu Kyi testified in the court that she did not go beyond the country’s constitution in holding the 2020 general election, and did not influence the Union Election Commission in that election, before pleading not guilty. Further details of what she said were not available because of a gag order on her lawyers.

The legal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information, said Suu Kyi appeared to be in good health.

All of Suu Kyi’s trials in the prison court are closed to the media and the public. The prosecutors do not comment on them and the state-controlled media have not reported directly on the proceedings. Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been barred since last year from providing details of the trials under a gag order.

The judge adjourned the election fraud trial for next week, when co-defendant Min Thu will testify.

Win Myint, another co-defendant in the case, gave a courtroom testimony last week denying the accusations against him, the legal official said.

Suu Kyi is also being tried on a charge of violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, and 11 counts under the Anti-Corruption Law, with each count punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine.

The corruption cases are among a large number of charges under which the military is prosecuting her. If found guilty of all the charges, she could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

Her lawyers are trying to overturn the two counts under the Anti-Corruption Act in an appeal to the Supreme Court on technical grounds, saying the case should not have been filed. In this corruption case, she is accused of receiving $550,000 in bribes from Maung Weik, a construction magnate.

The army’s takeover in 2021 was met with widespread non-violent protests. After security forces unleashed lethal force against peaceful demonstrators, some opponents of military rule turned to armed resistance in many areas.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

avalanche...

Associated Press

Body of avalanche victim in Washington state recovered after being spotted by volunteer

Search crews have recovered the body of a climber who was one of three killed in an avalanche on Washington's Colchuck Peak in February.

17 hours ago

Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

2 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

3 days ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

5 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

6 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi testifies in election fraud trial