BANGKOK, March 1 (AP) — A lawyer for ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to 33 years in prison on charges widely seen as a fabrication, has been denied a meeting with her as she prepares her appeal, Legal officials familiar with her situation said.
In December, a court sentenced 77-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison on corruption charges, the last in a string of criminal cases against her, giving her a total of 33 years. That was the last time her lawyer saw her in person.
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The army seized power and detained Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, 2021, the day her party will start a second five-year term after a landslide victory in the November 2020 general election.
Her supporters and independent analysts say the charges against her are an attempt to legitimize the military’s power grab and prevent her return to politics.
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A legal official, who insisted on anonymity for fear of punishment from authorities, told The Associated Press that most of the appeals filed by lawyers on her behalf have been dismissed, but some are still being processed. Her attorney, who had been a source of information on the proceedings, received a gag order in late 2021.
The lawyers are now awaiting a Supreme Court appointment to hear their appeal against her December conviction on five corruption charges.
The lawyers applied to prison authorities in mid-January for permission to meet with Suu Kyi to discuss the appeal, but had not received any confirmation as of Tuesday that they could do so, the legal official said.
According to a colonial-era prison manual still in use by Myanmar’s prison system, every newly convicted prisoner should be allowed reasonable facilities to meet or contact relatives or friends in preparation for an appeal or to be granted bail. The law says prisoners can contact anyone to arrange an appeal of their conviction.
Another legal official said that because her lawyers were unable to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, they could not receive instructions from her to handle the appeal or even confirm her health. He also asked not to be identified for fear of being punished by the authorities.
Lawyers are allowed to send packages for Aung San Suu Kyi through prison authorities once a week.
A spokesman for the Department of Prisons did not respond to inquiries about the lawyer’s assertion. According to prison handbooks, wardens can refuse permission to meet a prisoner if they believe it is contrary to the public interest, or if there are other good reasons.
Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted on a string of offences, including illegal importation and possession of walkie-talkies, breaching coronavirus restrictions, breaching the Official State Secrets Act, sedition and election fraud.
Since taking power, the military government has not allowed any outsiders to meet Suu Kyi, despite international pressure that talks including her could ease the country’s political crisis.
Burmese security forces have killed at least 3,073 civilians and arrested 19,954, according to a detailed list compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a watchdog group that tracks killings and arrests. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)