Aung San Suu Kyi didn’t have enough time with lawyers: Legal team head

Myanmar’s ousted leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint have not been given their full pre-trial rights, according to a lawyer representing both of them.

Their lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said the police gave him only 30 minutes to discuss the court cases with his clients in person.

“The time is not sufficient, not enough to discuss about those cases,” he told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Wednesday.

“I think that pre-trial rights and the rights of … access to legal advice for the defendants – Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint – are not enough, and not exactly wholly granted to them,” he said.

I cannot say for sure that, up to the present, they are given fair trial rights.

Khin Maung Zaw

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyer

Myanmar’s military staged a coup on Feb. 1 against the elected government of Suu Kyi — a Nobel peace laureate and the de facto leader of the civilian government. Both herself and the president were arrested and the military claimed there was voter fraud in last year’s democratic election.

Win Myint has been accused of breaching the constitution, while Suu Kyi faces charges ranging from breaking a state secrets law to illegally possessing walkie-talkies.

Her lawyer said he has been instructed to defend her on the basis that owning those devices is not against the law.

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi looks on before the UN’s International Court of Justice on December 11, 2019 in the Peace Palace of The Hague, on the second day of her hearing on the Rohingya genocide case.

Koen Van Weel | AFP | Getty Images

When asked about whether Suu Kyi will receive a fair trial, their lawyer said he has a duty to trust the courts of Myanmar as a legal professional working in the country’s legal system.

“But through our experience for this case, we are not satisfied with the opportunities given to the defendants,” Khin Maung Zaw said.

“I cannot say for sure that, up to the present, they are given fair trial rights,” he said, adding that he had “many difficulties” when he tried to file a power of attorney.

On Monday, Myanmar state media aired pictures of Suu Kyi for the first time since the coup.

Khin Maung Zaw told Reuters that Suu Kyi looked like she was in good health when he met her, though she said she had no access to newspapers while being detained.

In response to the coup, thousands of people in Myanmar took to the streets to protest against the military, and clashes with authorities turned violent on some occasions. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, about 828 people have been killed and more than 5,400 people have been arrested since the army seized power and declared a one-year state of emergency.

Janelle B. Smith

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