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Suu Kyi denies junta charge of incitement

Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has denied a charge of incitement to cause public alarm, media reports say, in her first court testimony since a February coup plunged the country into chaos and ended a decade of democratic reform.

Citing lawyers, BBC Burmese and Myanmar Now reported that Suu Kyi had denied incitement in connection with her party publishing a letter in February calling on international organisations not to cooperate with the junta.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.

Myanmar’s state media has not reported developments in Suu Kyi’s multiple legal cases, and one of the only sources of public information on her trial – her lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw – received a gagging order from the military authorities earlier this month.

That order came after Khin Maung Zaw said earlier this month that Myanmar’s deposed president Win Myint testified in court that the military had tried to force him to relinquish power hours before the February 1 coup and warned him he could be seriously harmed if he refused.

The lawyer said Suu Kyi had asked him to make public Win Myint’s testimony, which was his first account of events before the coup.

Suu Kyi is being held at an undisclosed location and attended Tuesday’s hearings at a specially built court in the Southeast Asian country’s capital, Naypyidaw.

She is charged with a litany of offences, including breaking coronavirus protocols, illegally possessing two-way radios, accepting bribes of cash and gold, incitement to cause public alarm and violating the Official Secrets Act.

Her lawyers have rejected the accusations, which they said Suu Kyi has characterised as “absurd”.

The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner led a civilian government after her party swept a 2015 election called after the military stepped back from half a century of direct rule.

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