November 18, 2021 08:24
Myanmar's ruling military junta has leveled new criminal charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the country's former civilian government.
An announcement in Tuesday's edition of the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said the 76-year-old Suu Kyi and 15 other officials have been accused of various charges of electoral fraud in connection with last November's general elections, won in a landslide by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.
The junta has cited widespread electoral fraud in the elections as its reason for toppling the civilian government on Feb. 1. The civilian electoral commission denied the military's allegations of fraud, a standing supported by independent monitoring groups such as the Asian Network for Free Elections. The junta has since declared the results of the 2020 election invalid and has threatened to dissolve the NLD.
Suu Kyi, who led the ousted government as state counsellor, President Win Myint and other high-ranking officials have been jailed since the coup.
She has been on trial for several months on numerous other charges, including illegal possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies, violating the country's Natural Disaster Management Law for breaking COVID-19 restrictions while campaigning, breaching the Official Secrets Act, inciting public unrest, misusing land for her charitable foundation, and accepting illegal payments of $600,000 in cash plus 11 kg of gold.
Sources have told news outlets that a verdict on the incitement charge will be handed down on Nov. 30.
Violent clashes between the military and citizens who have staged mass demonstrations against the junta have left more than 1,252 citizens dead, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group. Deadly clashes have also broken out between the military and several armed ethnic groups.
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