Detained ex-State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will not stand in the way of an armed rebellion against Myanmar’s junta, her legal team said Monday, as her trial on nearly a dozen charges resumed in the capital Naypyidaw.
The former head of state, whose National League for Democracy (NUG) government was deposed by the military in a Feb. 1 coup d’état, declared that she “will never oppose the will of the people” when asked about a declaration of war against the junta made by the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) earlier this month, lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said in a statement.
“The team told her about the rumours of her expressing dissent on some current deeds of the people and she said she never turns against the wishes of the people,” the statement said.
Khin Maung Zaw and his team had met with Aung San Suu Kyi for around half an hour before her trial hearing at the Special Court in Naypyidaw’s Zambuthiri township and asked her about reports since Sept. 17 that she did not approve of the armed resistance by NUG, People’s Defense Force (PDF) militia groups and Parliament’s Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Committee of Representatives (CRPH).
On Sept. 7, Duwa Lashi La, interim president of the five-month-old NUG, declared a nationwide state of emergency and called for open rebellion against junta rule, prompting an escalation of attacks on military targets by various allied pro-democracy militias and ethnic armed groups.
He called on the numerous branches of the PDF militias and armed ethnic groups to “target the military and their support pillars to take control of their regions,” while also urging “all levels of local administrators to stop working immediately.”
PDF militias have destroyed dozens of towers operated by military-run telecom Mytel Telecommunications Co. in a bid to decrease company revenue they say the regime will use to buy weapons to wield against the population, while several bombings have taken place across the country.
Agence France-Presse reported Monday that Aung San Suu Kyi had denied the rumors of her disapproval and refused to comment on the NUG’s announcement.
Repeated attempts by RFA’s Myanmar Service to reach her lawyers for clarification went unanswered Monday, but Khin Maung Zaw wrote via text message that he had not refused to comment to the media about the subject.
“Daw Suu told us that she would never say things that could damped the people’s spirit,” he added, using an honorific for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who led the country from 2016 until she was deposed and detained, along with Myanmar President Win Myint, by the military in February.
Multitude of charges
In the more than seven months since the coup, security forces have killed 1,114 civilians and arrested at least 6,637, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)—mostly during crackdowns on anti-junta protests.
The junta says it had to unseat Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD government because the party engineered a landslide victory in Myanmar’s November 2020 election through widespread voter fraud. It has yet to present evidence of its claims and public unrest is at an all-time high.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial in a junta court on charges widely regarded as politically motivated was suspended for two months amid an outbreak in the country of COVID-19 and was set to resume on Sept. 13, but was postponed when she complained of dizzy spells. She attended court the following day and hearings in her trial are now held weekly on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, had been in good health during the last two months, and had experienced difficulties only on Monday, her lawyers told RFA. She had previously been under the care of a family doctor, but after being taken into custody was assigned a doctor by the junta.
Aung San Suu Kyi now faces up to 11 different charges filed by the military against her, and if found guilty in all cases could face a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison.
The Mandalay Region High Court will begin hearing four corruption cases against her in a special court in Naypyidaw on Oct. 1 and proceedings are expected to take place weekly on Fridays.
Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.