Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi transferred from her house arrest to a prison in the capital

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The Burmese junta announced on Thursday that it had transferred deposed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a prison complex in Naypyidaw, where she will be placed in solitary confinement. The 77-year-old Nobel laureate has so far been placed under house arrest.

The deposed former Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has left her house arrest to be placed in solitary confinement in a prison complex in Naypyidaw, the capital built by the military, the ruling junta announced on Thursday.

“According to criminal laws […]she is being kept in solitary confinement in prison,” Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for the junta, said in a statement.

Since her ousting in a coup last year, Aung San Suu Kyi had been under house arrest at an undisclosed location in Naypyidaw, accompanied by several domestic workers and her dog, according to people familiar with the matter.

The 77-year-old Nobel laureate was only out to attend the hearings of her river trial where she faces a total of decades in prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi was “transferred to prison” on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter told AFP.

Her staff and her dog did not accompany her, the source said, adding that security around the prison compound was “tighter than before”.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health as far as we know,” the same source added.

“They are trying to intimidate him”

“What we see is that the junta in Burma is heading towards a much more punitive phase towards Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia of the NGO Human. Rights Watch. “They are obviously trying to intimidate her and her supporters.”

On Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter said that future hearings in Aung San Suu Kyi’s trials would take place in Naypyidaw prison.

Under a previous junta, she spent many years under house arrest at her family compound in Yangon, Burma’s largest city.

In the context of his current detention, his links with the outside world are limited to brief meetings with his lawyers before the hearings.

The hearings, which were held so far in a municipal complex in the capital Naypyidaw, will continue in “the brand new special court built within the city prison”, said this source, without further details.

Many international observers denounce this river trial, only motivated, according to them, by political considerations, to definitively exclude from power the daughter of the hero of independence, big winner of the elections of 2015 and 2020.

At the end of May, relatives of the former leader filed a complaint against the junta with a UN working group, to denounce its “judicial kidnapping”.

His trial is being held behind closed doors, his lawyers being prohibited from speaking to the press and international organisations.

The coup plunged the country into chaos. Nearly 2,000 civilians have been killed by security forces and more than 14,000 arrested, according to a local NGO.

A trial behind closed doors

The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate remains a very popular figure in Burma, even if her international image has been damaged by her inability to defend the Muslim minority of the Rohingyas, victims of discrimination and serious abuses.

But she has completely disappeared from the radar since her arrest, only appearing in rare snaps taken by state media in court.

She has already been convicted of corruption, incitement to violence, violation of health rules related to Covid-19 as well as violation of the telecommunications law and a court sentenced her to eleven years in prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi turned 77 on Sunday. On Monday, she brought a birthday cake which she ate with her lawyers before the court hearing, according to the source familiar with the matter.

With AFP

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