Suu Kyi legal team files latest appeal for prison meeting

The request comes a week after the junta lifted a COVID-19-era ban on visits to inmates.
By RFA Burmese
2023.10.31
Suu Kyi legal team files latest appeal for prison meeting A supporter shows a portrait of former leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest marking the two-year anniversary of the military takeover that ousted her government, outside the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, on Feb. 1, 2023.
Sakchai Lalit/AP

Former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team filed a new request Tuesday with the junta’s home ministry to meet with her in prison, sources who are close to her lawyers said, a week after the military regime lifted a COVID-19-era ban on visits to all inmates.

It’s the latest appeal from the team, which is yet to receive a response despite repeated requests to the country’s Prisons Department and the Ministry of Home Affairs since the beginning of the year.

Junta authorities arrested the 78-year-old Suu Kyi in the immediate aftermath of the military’s Feb. 1, 2021, coup, along with former President Win Myint and other leaders of the deposed National League for Democracy, or NLD, party.

She was serving a 33-year prison sentence for convictions in 19 cases but on Aug. 1 was partially pardoned for five of them as part of a general amnesty, reducing her punishment to 27 years in jail. 

They relate to the Natural Disaster Management Law, the Communication Law and one case under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code, which deals with defaming the country’s military and undermining state order.

A source with knowledge of the situation told RFA Burmese on Tuesday that Suu Kyi’s legal team “needs to speak with her about appeals of her prison sentences” they recently lodged with the Union Supreme Court.

It remains unclear where Suu Kyi is being detained. A source with connections to Naypyidaw Prison told RFA in late July that she had been “relocated.” But junta officials haven’t commented on her location.

Earlier this month, the court rejected appeals of all six of Suu Kyi’s corruption convictions – four related to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation and two related to businessman Maung Weik. 

Prison visits had been suspended in Myanmar as part of measures the junta put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Human rights activists and political commentators have called for permission for Suu Kyi to meet with her legal team, since the junta lifted the restriction on family visits to prisoners on Oct. 24.

New campaign for freedom

The request by Suu Kyi’s legal team to meet with the democracy icon came as her U.K.-based son, Kim Aris, launched a new campaign to free his mother by raising the profile of her incarceration to ensure that her plight was “heard across the globe,” according to a report by The Independent.

“The fight to free my mother Aung San Suu Kyi from her illegal imprisonment in Burma will never cease,” Aris told the paper, using the former name for Myanmar.

“She is a symbol of my country in her prison cell, a candle that flickers and will never disappear ... I want to give new energy to her campaign by starting a new one here to make sure the call to end her incarceration will be heard louder across the globe.”

Aris has joined forces with a charity urging people to get a tattoo in support of Myanmar and raise money for the millions displaced by the country’s civil war.

“The fundraising and the tattoos signal the generosity of people who want Burma to be free from military dictatorship and to find a way to liberation and peace and prosperity,” he said.

Translated by Aung Naing. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Matt Reed.

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