Myanmar’s military rulers have accused the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi of illegally accepting $600,000 and 11kg of gold.
The allegation is the strongest yet leveled by the military since it overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s democratic leadership on February 1.
No evidence was provided. A lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party denied the allegation.
Meanwhile a UN human rights investigator accused the military of committing “crimes against humanity.”
Thomas Andrews told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Myanmar was currently being “controlled by a murderous, illegal regime” which was likely perpetrating “widespread” and “systematic” killings, torture and persecution.
His claims were supported by the rights group Amnesty, which accused the military of going on a “killing spree”.
Thomas Andrew also called for sanctions on junta leaders and on the military-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, which is set to reach $1 billion in revenue this year.
The US has already announced 10 coup leaders including Myanmar’s acting president, and three companies.
At least seven more people were killed by security forces on March 11, taking the total death toll to more than 70. Witnesses said some protesters had been shot in the head.
Six of those deaths took place in the central town of Myaing.
Meanwhile, a senior official said the military had been “exercising utmost restraint” and accused the protesters of violent behavior.
The accusation that she accepted $600,000 in cash and 11kg of gold was made by a former chief minister of Yangon, Phyo Mien Thein, who said he had given her the payments, junta spokesman Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said. The anti-corruption committee was investigating, he added.
Gen. Zaw Min Tun also accused President Win Myint and several cabinet ministers of corruption.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD won a landslide victory in the polls last year, but the military now claims the election was fraudulent.
Independent international observers have disputed the military’s claim – saying no irregularities were observed.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been held for the past five weeks at an undisclosed location and faces several charges including causing “fear and alarm”, illegally possessing radio equipment, and breaking Covid-19 restrictions.
Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been seen for the first time since she was detained in a military coup, after she appeared in court via video link.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, appeared to be in “good health” and asked to see her legal team, her lawyers say.
Two new charges were announced against Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested after the February 1 coup.
Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets again despite February 28 seeing the deadliest day yet with 18 killed.
The deaths came as the military and police ramped up their response to demonstrations across the South East Asian nation over the weekend, firing into the crowds.
However, protesters defied the crackdown on March 1, demanding the elected government be restored and Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), be released from detention.
The military says it seized power because of alleged fraud in November’s general elections, which saw the NLD win by a landslide.
It has provided no proof of these allegations – instead, it has replaced the Election Commission and promised fresh polls in a year.
Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested when the coup began and had not been seen in public until Monday’s hearing, when she appeared via video link at the court in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
It is unclear where she has been held over the past month, but some reports suggest she was detained at her home in Nay Pyi Taw before being moved to an undisclosed location.
Aung San Suu Kyi originally faced two charges of illegally importing walkie talkies and violating Myanmar’s natural disaster law, but a further two charges were added on March 1. She was accused of using illegal communication equipment and causing “fear and alarm”.
The initial charges carried sentences of up to three years in jail. It is not clear what punishment the new charges might carry, but she could reportedly be barred from running in future elections if convicted.
News agency Myanmar Now reported that ousted president Win Myint – a key ally of Aung San Suu Kyi – had also been charged for incitement under the penal code.
Her popularity has soared in Myanmar since her arrest, but her international reputation still remains tarnished by allegations that she turned a blind eye to ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority Rohingya community.
Protests erupted again in multiple cities across Myanmar. According to the AFP news agency, one clash saw unarmed protesters fleeing after a volley of shots were fired. It was unclear if live ammunition was used.
AFP reported that in Yangon, demonstrators were seen using makeshift items like bamboo poles, sofas and even tree branches to erect barricades across streets.
Tear gas and stun grenades were also used to disperse hundreds of protesters in Yangon, Reuters news agency reported.
At least 21 people have been killed since the unrest began last month.
On March 1, army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing gave a TV address during which he said protest leaders and “instigators” would be punished.
Myanmar’s military seized power after overthrowing the government and declared a state of emergency.
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