New corruption charges have been launched by the Burmese junta against Aung San Suu Kyi, who could be excluded from political life if found guilty.
The Burmese army maintains its grip on several cities in the country in the grip of fierce repression. According to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least seven people were killed by security forces on Wednesday.
“Unfounded and absurd” accusations
The violence was particularly severe in Kalay (west). Three civilians who were not demonstrating were hit by fatal shootings, soldiers and police opening fire in the streets and squares of the city, reports the NGO which expects other victims. The soldiers are more than ever determined to put an end to the pro-democracy protest which has blown over the country since the coup d’état of February 1 with daily demonstrations and many civil servants (teachers, doctors, railway workers, etc.) on strike. They are also stepping up their pressure on former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, still in solitary confinement.
State television broadcast a video on Wednesday evening of a controversial businessman who confesses to having paid him $ 550,000 in installments between 2018 and 2020. “According to this testimony, the authorities detected that Aung San Suu Kyi was guilty of bribery and they are preparing to indict him, ”MRTV said. “These new accusations are baseless and absurd,” said his lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, on Thursday. My client has “maybe flaws, but bribing people is not in her nature […] most Burmese will not believe it ”. Arrested in the coup, 75-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi has already been charged four times: for illegally importing walkie-talkies, failure to comply with coronavirus restrictions, violation of a telecommunications law and incitement to public disturbances.
“Women and children targeted”
Last week, the army announced it was opening an investigation for corruption, initially accusing it of illegally collecting $ 600,000 and more than 11 kilos of gold. If she is found guilty of the acts with which she is accused, she faces long years in prison and could be excluded from political life. His party, the National League for Democracy (LND), won overwhelmingly the legislative elections in November. But the generals alleged “huge” electoral fraud to justify their putsch, international observers failing to detect major problems. 217 protesters have been killed by security forces since February 1, according to AAPP.
“The tactics of repression are more and more violent”, deplores the Burmese NGO which takes stock of the situation daily. The army and the police now fire “everywhere with live ammunition, without reason even against people who do not demonstrate. Children and women are also targeted ”. Thursday, several districts of Yangon were still the scene of violent tensions. Witnesses reported at least a dozen arrests in South Okkalapa Township. The security forces “threaten to shoot the inhabitants who do not remove the barricades” erected by the pro-democracy demonstrators to delay the progress of the soldiers and the police, said a doctor who lives in this district, expressing at least ten arrests.
“Crimes against humanity”
The day before, still in the economic capital, a protester was shot dead to the head and two men were shot dead in the industrial suburb of Hlaing Tharyar, the scene of the bloodiest repression, on Sunday, with dozens of dead . A man also died in Mandalay (center) after being shot in the head. The security forces “loot and destroy private and public property”, burning bridges, noted the AAPP. Enforced disappearances, murders, torture: Thomas Andrews, the main independent expert appointed by the United Nations on this issue, denounced before the Human Rights Council in Geneva probable “crimes against humanity”.
Nearly 2,200 people have been arrested over the past six weeks. Many cannot meet their loved one or a lawyer and are held incommunicado. Hundreds of people are thus missing, alerted the UN which also denounces “a bloodbath”. The junta ignores the multiple international condemnations and sanctions implemented by several Western powers, the United States and the European Union in the lead.