Suu Kyi hit with new criminal charge

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was hit with a fresh criminal charge yesterday, as the junta’s tough crackdown on dissent rolls on.

The 75-year-old Nobel laureate has not been seen in public since being detained in the early hours of February 1 as the military deposed her government and seized power.

The generals have used increasingly brutal methods to try to quell a growing protest movement against their rule, while Suu Kyi faces a raft of criminal charges that could see her barred for life from office.

“Amay Suu has been charged again under section 25 of the natural disaster management law,” lawyer Min Min Soe told AFP after a court hearing in the capital Naypyidaw, where Suu Kyi appeared by video link.

“She has been charged in six cases altogether – five charges in Naypyidaw and one in Yangon.”

Protesters participate in a rally in support of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi. PHOTO: AFP

The most serious charge Suu Kyi faces falls under Myanmar’s official secrets laws.

Min Min Soe said Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in Naypyidaw, appeared in good health but it is not clear if she has any idea of the turmoil that has unfolded in Myanmar over the past two months.

Near-daily protests seeking her release and the restoration of democracy have been met with rubber bullets, live rounds and even grenades by the security forces.

More than 700 civilians have been killed in the space of just 70 days since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group, which said more than 3,000 have been arrested.