Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was healthy at home and would appear in court in a few days, in his first interview since overthrowing her in a Feb. 1 coup.
The coup has plunged the Southeast Asian country into chaos. An ethnic armed group opposed to the ruling junta attacked a military post in a northwestern jade mining town while other violent incidents were reported from other corners of Myanmar.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her long struggle against previous military rulers, is among more than 4,000 people detained since the coup. She faces charges that range from illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios to violating a state secrets law.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health. She is at her home and healthy. She is going to face trial at the court in a few days,” Min Aung Hlaing said by video link with the Hong Kong-based Chinese language broadcaster Phoenix Television on May 20, in excerpts released on Saturday.
The interviewer asked him what he thought of the performance of Suu Kyi, 75, who is widely admired in the country of 53 million for her campaign that had brought tentative democratic reforms which were cut short by the coup.
“She tried all she could,” Min Aung Hlaing responded.
He reiterated that the army had seized power because it had identified fraud in an election won by Suu Kyi’s party in November – although its accusations were rejected by the then election commission.
He said the army would hold elections and potential changes to the constitution had been identified and would be made if they were “the people’s will.”
Suu Kyi’s next court appearance is due on Monday in the capital Naypyidaw. So far she has appeared only by video link and as yet to be allowed to speak directly to her lawyers.
The junta has cited security reasons for not allowing her to speak to her lawyers in private at a time the military authorities have not established control of the country in the face of daily protests, strikes and renewed insurgencies.