Suu Kyi court hearing postponed over Myanmar internet block


Yangon: The protests on Monday returned to the streets after the bloodiest day since the military coup six weeks ago. As a result, the protesters ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s scheduled video court appearance. It was Monday Blockade of mobile data networks in Myanmar.

At least 44 protesters were killed Sunday as security forces cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrations, taking the death toll since the coup to more than 120, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group.

Since the coup, Myanmar has been turbulent. Although the military government has increasingly taken efforts to quell dissent, daily protests have called for the restoration of democracy.

The court hearing for Suu Kyi — who spent more than 15 years under house arrest during previous military rule — was scheduled for 10 am (0330 GMT) in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw, but it was postponed until March 24, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told AFP.

“There’s no court hearing because there’s no internet and the hearing is conducted by video conference… We cannot do video,” he said.

Myanmar authorities have throttled the internet every night for several weeks, normally restoring services in the morning, but monitoring service Netblocks said mobile data networks were kept offline Monday.

Suu Kyi faces at least four charges: possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, breaching telecommunications laws, and intent to cause public unrest.

The military authorities also accused her of accepting an illegal payment of US$600,000 in cash and large amounts of gold-the allegations her lawyer said were “baseless”.

Khin Maung Zaw had previously complained that he was not allowed to meet Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, and said on Monday that the police had appointed two junior lawyers in his team to have power of attorney.

“The police have no right to decide who represents the defendants,” he said, adding that the whole situation is “strange” — from the lack of Wi-Fi in the court to the appointment of junior lawyers.

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