Home / World / Junta adds bribery allegations to Suu Kyi charges

Junta adds bribery allegations to Suu Kyi charges

‘Murderous’ security forces kill 12: Advocacy group
Ma Aye Chan Myint cries while holding the body of her husband Ko Chit Min Thu, who was shot in the head by security forces in Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday.
Ma Aye Chan Myint cries while holding the body of her husband Ko Chit Min Thu, who was shot in the head by security forces in Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday.

Reuters   |   Yangon   |   Published 12.03.21, 01:46 AM

Myanmar’s junta added new bribery allegations to its charges against deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday, while an advocacy group said security forces killed 12 protesters in one of the deadliest days since the military took power.

 The bloodshed came hours after the UN Security Council had called for restraint from the army, which has been trying to put down daily anti-coup protests and paralysing strikes since it took power on February 1.


 Among the dead were eight people killed in the central town of Myaing when security forces fired on a protest, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said.

 In Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, protester Chit Min Thu was killed in the North Dagon district. His wife, Aye Myat Thu, told Reuters he had insisted on joining the protests despite her appeals for him to stay home for the sake of their son.

“He said it’s worth dying for,” she said through her tears. “He is worried about people not joining the protest. If so, democracy will not return to the country.”

Adding corruption charges to the accusations against Suu Kyi could mean she faces a harsher penalty. She currently faces four comparatively minor charges — including illegally importing six walkie talkie radios and flouting coronavirus restrictions.

 The junta spokesman, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, said Suu Kyi had accepted illegal payments worth $600,000, as well as gold, while in government, according to a complaint by Phyo Mien Thein, a former chief minister of Yangon.

“He strongly said that,” the spokesman told a news conference.“We have verified those facts several times. Now the anti-corruption committee is continuing the investigation.”

 Aye Ma Ma Myo, a member of the dissolved parliament belonging to Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, rejected the claim.

“It is no longer uncommon to see slander against politicians and efforts to crush the party while innocent young people are killed in public,” she told Reuters in a message.

 Another funeral was held for an official from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), who died in custody after being arrested early on Tuesday. Mourners wept over the open coffin, which showed Zaw Myat Linn’s badly disfigured face.

Thursday’s deaths brought the number of protesters killed since the coup to more than 70, the AAPP said. Some 2,000 people have also been detained since the coup against Suu Kyi’s elected government, it says.

The army did not respond to requests for comment on the latest deaths but the junta spokesman said the security forces were disciplined and used force only when necessary.

UN human rights investigator Thomas Andrews told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the military may have committed crimes against humanity. He called for multilateral sanctions on the junta and the state energy firm, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.

 Amnesty International accused the army of using lethal force against protesters and said many killings it had documented amounted to extra-judicial executions.

“These are not the actions of overwhelmed, individual officers making poor decisions,” said Joanne Mariner, Amnesty’s director of crisis response.

“These are unrepentant commanders already implicated in crimes against humanity, deploying their troops and murderous methods in the open.”

 Suu Kyi, 75, fought for decades to overturn military rule under previous juntas before the start of tentative democratic reforms in 2011. She had spent a total of around 15 years under house arrest.

 The army has justified taking power by saying that a November election, overwhelmingly won by Suu Kyi’s party, was marred by fraud — an assertion rejected by the electoral commission.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun reiterated that the military would only be in charge for a certain period before holding an election. The junta has said a state of emergency will last for a year.

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