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.
Myanmar’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been handed a second criminal charge on the day she appeared in court via video link.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was earlier charged with possessing illegal walkie-talkies, is now also alleged to have violated Myanmar’s Natural Disaster Law.
It is not clear what the new charge, issued on February 16, relates to.
Myanmar’s military earlier repeated its promise to hold fresh elections and relinquish power as protests continue.
Anti-coup demonstrators are demanding the release of their elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, following the military coup on February 1.
In the military’s first news conference since toppling the government, spokesman Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said the armed forces would not remain in power for long, and promised to “hand power back to the winning party” following a planned election.
However, he did not provide a date for the vote.
Speaking in Nay Pyi Taw on February 16, Zaw Min Tun also repeated the claim – without providing evidence – of fraud in last November’s election.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a resounding victory in the poll. The military has claimed fraud as a justification for its coup.
The former leader made a brief virtual appearance at a court in the capital Nay Pyi Taw on February 16. She reportedly answered questions about legal arrangements and representation.
Her next court appearance is scheduled to take place on March 1.
Zaw Min Tun said that Aung San Suu Kyi had been confined to her home for her own safety, and that she was “comfortable and healthy”.
He used the news conference to accuse anti-coup protesters of violence and intimidation against the security forces.
A police officer had been wounded by “lawless actions” and had later died from his injuries, he said.
Protesters have clashed with security officers and there have been recent reports of police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
One protester remains in a critical condition after being shot in the head on February 9.
Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, 19, was hurt while taking part in a protest – though it is not clear exactly what she was hit by. Rights groups say her wound is consistent with one from live ammunition.
Zaw Min Tun said some measures taken to control crowds of protesters were in response to bricks being thrown at police.
The UN has warned Myanmar’s military – which on February 15 announced penalties of up to 20 years in prison for those opposing the coup leaders – that there would be “severe consequences” for any brutal suppression of the ongoing anti-coup protests there.
Meanwhile, access to the internet in Myanmar was restored on February 16 after it had been cut off for a second night.
The junta has been regularly blocking the web to try to stifle dissent since the coup began.
On February 13, the military gave itself the power to make arrests, carry out searches and hold people for more than 24 hours without a court ruling, while telling journalists not to describe the military’s takeover as a coup.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.