Suu Kyi’s lawyer soldiers on ‘in defence of democracy’

Staying in several lodgings every evening to evade arrest, the lawyer representing Aung San Suu Kyi says her trial will assist decide whether or not Myanmar’s individuals once more grow to be “slaves” of the army.

Soldiers raided the civilian chief’s residence and detained her in pre-dawn raids three weeks in the past, successfully ending Myanmar’s 10-year experiment with democracy.

The new army regime has pledged to carry elections in a yr, however for now the junta wields energy over all of the nation’s political establishments — together with its courts.

Khin Maung Zaw has been tasked with defending her from a pair of obscure prices for possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions.

“Myanmar is now at an important level of historical past,” the 73-year-old informed AFP by cellphone from Naypyidaw, the nation’s capital, whereas reflecting on weeks of nationwide protests demanding his shopper’s launch.

“If we lose, we’ll grow to be slaves of the army junta for 40 or 50 years. We need to win this battle.”

The junta has already taken motion to purge the nation’s high courts of potential Suu Kyi sympathisers, and Khin Maung Zaw’s transient is totally stacked in opposition to him.

Despite a number of requests, he has nonetheless not been given permission to see his shopper forward of her March 1 listening to.

“If I do not get permission to fulfill together with her for the listening to, I’ll let all of the world know that the trial shouldn’t be truthful,” he mentioned.

He has additionally stepped up his personal security precautions, because of “oblique pressures” handed onto him from relations.

“At evening, I’ve to avoid my home and I’ve to remain in different individuals’s homes,” he informed AFP.

– ‘No purpose to be afraid’ –

Born in 1948 in Pyinmana, a city now on the outskirts of the capital constructed by an earlier junta, Khin Maung Zaw says he is used to threats from a strong army.

He was first jailed on the age of 17 after protesting an earlier dictatorship for distributing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights round his college campus in Mandalay.

He was despatched to the infamous Coco Islands jail, 400 kilometres (250 miles) off the coast of Myanmar.

He says it was the “equal of a gulag”. It was later demolished after inmates staged a starvation strike to protest the island’s dire situations.

Released in 1972, he was arrested once more three years later for becoming a member of scholar demonstrations. He has spent a complete of 9 years behind bars.

“I’ve no purpose to be afraid for myself as a result of I’ve weathered all these executions and repression,” he mentioned.

Since the coup, authorities have steadily ratcheted up their use of drive to include the large civil disobedience marketing campaign sweeping the nation.

Khin Maung Zaw is amazed by their drive, however fearful for his or her security, with no less than three anti-coup demonstrators killed up to now.

“The spark has grow to be a pyre fireplace,” he mentioned. “In the previous, when the army turns into determined, they are going to do something.”

His final high-profile case was defending Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

Both males spent practically 18 months in jail for reporting on atrocities in opposition to the nation’s stateless Rohingya minority.

The case positioned him at odds with the administration of Suu Kyi, who had defended the military’s assaults on the Rohingya group and, in line with a US diplomat, as soon as referred to the reporters as “traitors”.

But Khin Maung Zaw says he doesn’t contemplate the “private facets” of the case, which had been unimportant in comparison with the nation’s efforts to keep away from a return to army rule.

“I’m not representing Aung San Suu Kyi as an individual — I’m representing a publicly elected particular person underneath assault by the army forces,” he says.

“That is all in defence of democracy.”

The publish Suu Kyi’s lawyer soldiers on ‘in defence of democracy’ appeared first on France 24.


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