Suu Kyi lawyer rejects military graft claims as 'groundless'

·2-min read
Lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said the claims against his client were 'groundless'

Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer on Friday rejected junta allegations of corruption against Myanmar's deposed civilian leader as "groundless", calling it "illegal mudslinging" by the generals who seized power from her.

The country has been in uproar since a February 1 putsch that saw Suu Kyi ousted, detained and accused of several criminal charges including owning unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions.

On Thursday, a junta spokesman made new corruption accusations against her, saying a now-detained chief minister had admitted giving her $600,000 and more than 10 kilograms of gold.

"This allegation against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor, is groundless, especially regarding the dollars and gold bars -- it is the most hilarious joke of all," her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told AFP.

"I've never seen such an illegal mudslinging."

The veteran human rights lawyer -- who in the past went up against Suu Kyi's administration in defending two journalists reporting on the Rohingya crisis -- said he has his differences with her.

"She may have her defects but bribery and corruption aren't her traits," he said.

The Nobel laureate has also been accused of violating a communications law and of intent to incite public unrest.

A hearing is scheduled for March 15, but so far Khin Maung Zaw has not been able to have a private meeting with his client.

"I'm frustrated because my client is not given the rights of defence and the rights of a fair trial," he said, adding that he is nonetheless preparing for Monday's hearing.

"I'm not worried about these four cases (charges) but other allegations could occur and other cases could pile up, resulting in false charges and false accusations," he told AFP.

Since she was detained on February 1, Suu Kyi has not been seen in public.

The junta has justified its power grab citing electoral fraud in November elections that Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won by a landslide.

dhc/pdw/je