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    Suu Kyi celebrates birthday with cake in court

    AP – Although detained by Myanmar’s military government on a slew of charges, ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was able to hold a small birthday celebration during a court appearance on Monday, a legal official said.

    Suu Kyi, whose elected government was overthrown by the army in February last year, turned 77 on Sunday.

    She is among over 11,124 people currently detained for opposing military rule, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which keeps detailed tallies of civilians jailed or killed by government forces.

    The military’s seizure of power met with widespread resistance and some United Nations (UN) experts now describe Myanmar as being in a civil war.

    Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a landslide election victory in 2020, and she remains widely regarded by Myanmar’s people as the country’s legitimate leader. She is admired for leading a long, nonviolent struggle to restore democracy in Myanmar, for which she won a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Suu Kyi, whose elected government was overthrown by the army in February last year, turned 77 on June 19.
    PHOTO: AFP

    Suu Kyi is now being tried on multiple charges, including corruption, that her supporters said are politically motivated to discredit her and legitimise the military’s seizure of power. She has already been sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment after being convicted on charges of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, sedition and an initial corruption charge.

    A legal official familiar with her court proceedings said Suu Kyi cut a cake to celebrate her birthday when she met with her lawyers before Monday’s court hearing on corruption charges, then gave pieces to her lawyers, police and court staff. The cake had been sent on her birthday by her lawyers via police to the secret location where she is being held, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to release information.

    Suu Kyi’s trials are closed to the media and the public and her lawyers have been barred by a gag order from providing details of the proceedings.

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