By Agencies and published by Channel NewsAsia
Yangon – Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in person at a court hearing today (May 24) for the first time since her government was overthrown by the military in a Feb 1 coup, her lawyer told Reuters.
Aung San Suu Kyi looked in good health and held a face-to-face meeting with her legal team for about 30 minutes before the hearing, lawyer Thae Maung Maung told Reuters.
Suu Kyi, 75, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to build democracy, is among more than 4,000 people detained since the coup. She faces charges that range from illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios to violating a state secrets law.
The ousted leader “wished people good health” in her meeting with her lawyers and also made an apparent reference to her National League for Democracy party that could be dissolved soon.
“She said the party was established for the people so the party will be there as long as the people are,” Thae Maung Maung told Reuters.
There was a heavy security presence in the capital Naypyidaw, an AFP correspondent said, with the road to the specially-constructed courthouse blocked off by police trucks.
The next hearing was set for Jun 7, laywer Min Min Soe told AFP, adding she had also met with former president Win Myint, who was ousted and detained along with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing said in an interview released on Saturday that Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health. She is at her home and healthy. She is going to face trial at the court in a few days,” Min Aung Hlaing said by video link with the Hong Kong-based Chinese language broadcaster Phoenix Television, in excerpts released on Saturday.
Before Monday, Aung San Suu Kyi has appeared only by video link and was not allowed to speak directly to her lawyers.
The junta has cited security reasons for earlier not allowing her to speak to her lawyers in private at a time the military authorities have not established control of the country in the face of daily protests, strikes and renewed insurgencies.
US journalist detained
Meanwhile an American editor of a Myanmar-based news outlet was detained by authorities in Yangon as he attempted to board a flight out of the country today (May 24), AFP quoted his employers as saying.
Danny Fenster, a US citizen and managing editor of Frontier Myanmar was detained at Yangon International Airport, his employers said in a statement on their verified Twitter account.
“We do not know why Danny was detained and have not been able to contact him since this morning. We are concerned for his wellbeing and call for his immediate release,” Frontier said.
“Our priorities right now are to make sure he is safe and to provide him with whatever assistance he needs.”
The press has been caught in the junta’s crackdown as the military attempts to tighten control over the flow of information, throttling Internet access and revoking the licenses of five local media outlets.
Fenster, 37, had been working for the outlet for around a year and was heading home to see his family, Frontier’s chief editor Thomas Kean told AFP.
At least 34 journalists and photographers remain in custody across Myanmar, according to monitoring group Reporting Asean.
Top: Aung San Suu Kyi was granted the Freedom of Oxford in 1997. Photo: Getty Images and published by BBC
Home Page: Aung San Suu Kyi attends the opening session of the 31st Asean Summit in Manila, Philippines, on Nov 13, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha and published by CNA