Myanmar’s former State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi will appear in a Naypyidaw court today after her government was ousted by a military coup. She and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party ruled in a power-sharing agreement with the military (Tatmadaw) from 2015 until February.
Suu Kyi is charged with violating a natural disaster management law by breaching COVID-19 restrictions and illegally importing walkie-talkies. Recent Tatmadaw legal changes mean she could remain detained indefinitely and face up to six years in prison if convicted. Her lawyer claims he has been excluded from the process.
Expect the Tatmadaw to proceed with the trial, which could last for a year, despite international condemnation. Still, the military risks further alienating Myanmar’s diverse population. Ethnic and religious minority groups that had not previously supported the NLD have begun to rally behind the party since Suu Kyi’s arrest, joining in calls for her release.
Though the Tatmadaw has shown little sign of concern about foreign dissent, an Indonesian proposal to convene a meeting to resolve the situation has gained superficial Chinese backing. If successful, Chinese pressure, combined with a broad popular coalition that has seen mass demonstrations against the coup across Myanmar, could eventually force the Tatmadaw to the negotiating table, though likely without Suu Kyi’s personal participation.
Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.