Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi appears in public for first time since February 1 arrest

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi has appeared in public for the first time since she was detained and her government was overthrown by the military in a February 1 coup, as she attended a 30-minute court hearing in the capital Naypyidaw.

The 75-year-old looked in good health and held a face-to-face meeting on Monday with her legal team before the hearing, lawyer Thae Maung Maung told the Reuters. All her previous meetings have been via video link.

The hearing lasted about 30 minutes and security was tight, Frontier, a Myanmar magazine reported.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle to build democracy in the country but had faced more recent criticism over her failure to condemn the military’s brutal crackdown against the mostly Muslim Rohingya, is among more than 4,000 people who have been detained since the generals seized power.

She has been held under house arrest in Naypyidaw and faces a series of criminal charges including flouting coronavirus restrictions during last year’s election campaign, possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating a state secrets law.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s court appearance comes as the generals battle continued resistance to their rule that includes a civil disobedience movement, mass protests and a newly-formed armed group that was set up in response to the military’s brutal crackdown on opposition to their coup.

The army seized power claiming fraud in an election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in a landslide in November. Its accusations had been dismissed by the former electoral commission.

Its new military-appointed members have suggested that the NLD be dissolved, a proposal that was condemned by the European Union on Sunday.

At her court appearance on Monday, Aung San Suu Kyi sought to reassure people that the NLD would continue.

“She said the party was formed for the people, so it will exist as long as the people exist,” lawyer Min Min Soe told Frontier.