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Burma’s Islamophobic Leader Faces Political Storm: Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court in person first time since coup

Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in person at a court hearing on Monday for the first time since her government was overthrown by the military in a February 1 coup.

A handout photo released on December 10, 2019 by the International Court of Justice shows Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attending the start of a three-day hearing on the Rohingya genocide case before the UN International Court of Justice at the Peace Palace of The Hague. - Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi faced calls for Myanmar to "stop the genocide" of Rohingya Muslims as she personally led her country's defence at the UN's top court on December 10. (Photo by Frank Van BEEK / UN Photo/ICJ / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / UN Photo/ICJ/ Frank Van BEEK" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ---

Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi attended a court hearing Monday, her first appearance in person since the military seized power on February 1, her defense team said.

Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, held a face-to-face meeting with her legal team for about 30 minutes before the hearing in the capital, Naypyidaw, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said.

“We discussed the cases (and) what line of defense we should take,” Khin Maung Zaw said. “She wished the people good health and prosperity.”

Prior to the hearing, Suu Kyi had only been permitted to speak with lawyers via a video link in the presence of security personnel.

Suu Kyi faces a range of charges, from illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios to violating the official secrets act — the most serious charge which carries a potential prison sentence of up to 14 years.

The ousted civilian leader, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a landslide in November 2020 elections, has not been seen in public since her detention.

According to Khin Maung Zaw, Suu Kyi had complained that 30 minutes was not sufficient to discuss all the cases against her, and urged her legal team to ask the judge to permit another meeting.

The lawyers also met with ousted President Win Myint, who was detained on February 1 alongside Suu Kyi, and is facing charges.

Last week, Myanmar’s junta-appointed election commission said it would dissolve the NLD because of what it claims was election fraud. The military overthrew the NLD government alleging mass voter fraud, though the electoral commission at the time rejected the army’s complaints.

According to Khin Maung Zaw, Suu Kyi said of the NLD: “Our party grew out of the people so it will exist as long as people support it.”

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