KOMPAS.com – Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her Australian economics advisor, Sean Turnell, have reportedly been charged with violating the country's colonial-era official secrets act.
Suu Kyi, three of her deposed cabinet ministers, and Turnell were charged a week ago in a Yangon court, lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told Reuters by phone, adding he learned of the new charge two days ago. A conviction under the law can carry a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
A spokesman for the junta did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
Suu Kyi has been detained since a February 1 coup and is also charged with violating coronavirus protocols and illegally possessing two-way radios.
The ruling military council has also accused her of bribery. Suu Kyi, who is 75 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar, appeared via video link for a hearing in connection with the earlier charges on Thursday.
Another of her lawyers, Min Min Soe, said she appeared to be in good health.
"Amay Su and President U Win Myint are in good health," the lawyer said, referring to Suu Kyi by an affectionate term for mother.
The president, a Suu Kyi ally, was also deposed and detained in the coup. He too faces various charges.
Their lawyers have said the charges against both of them were trumped up.
At least 538 civilians have been killed in protests against the coup, 141 of them on Saturday, the bloodiest day of the unrest, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group.
Protesters were back out in several places on Thursday and two more people were killed, according to media reports, as activists burned copies of a military-framed constitution and called for unity among all those opposed to army rule.
Turnell revealed in early February he was being detained, the first-known arrest of a foreign national since the coup that overthrew Suu Kyi's elected government.
The military seized power saying that the November elections won by Suu Kyi's party were fraudulent. The election commission said the vote was fair.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the reimposed military rule after a decade of tentative steps toward democracy.
The United Nations special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, this week told a session of the UN Security Council that "a bloodbath is imminent" because of the military's intensified crackdown on anti-coup protesters.
Schraner Burgener told a closed session of the 15-member council the military that seized power in Myanmar on February 1 was not capable of managing the country and warned the situation on the ground would only worsen.
"Consider all available tools to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve, and prevent a multi-dimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia," she said.
The council must consider "potentially significant action" to reverse the course of events as "a bloodbath is imminent", Schraner Burgener said.
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