Wednesday (October 13th): Myanmar Update: President on Trial

Win Myint - Myanmar
Win Myint

Name? Win Myint

Westphalian identity? Burmese

Age? 69

Why is he in the news? Win Myint, Myanmar’s ex-civilian President, began his testimony yesterday of how the Feb. 1st coup d’etat came to be; directly challenging the Junta’s claim that no coup took place and power was transferred lawfully. 

Why do we care? According to Win Myint’s defence lawyer, the ex-president defied the military’s demand to resign from office on the 1st, stating “he would rather die than consent. Aside from admiring Win Myint’s bravery, we care about his testimony as it is the first public comment of either the ex-president or Aung San Suu Kyi since the two were overthrown eight months ago. 

Why should you care? Since the military takeover in February, over 1000 civilians have been killed; not to mention the hundreds of thousands more who have been displaced amidst domestic violence and a global pandemic. Because the military continues to crack down on dissent by shooting protestors and arresting journalists. As always you should care 8/10 about freedom of the press, assembly and simply the right to life. 

Who else cares? Erywan Yusof, special envoy to Myanmar on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Brunei Minister has yet to visit Myanmar as negotiations continue for him to meet with both the military and opposition leaders. The outcome of Myint’s trial will likely influence how soon special representative Yusof visits the country. This is of particular importance to the Myanmar military as ASEAN is the most important organisation it is part of.

Any further comments? Win Myint may be the first to testify but Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the former mayor of Naypyidaw, the capital city, are expected to testify later this month for similar charges such as incitement. Although their testimonies are more or less predictable, what remains to be seen is how quickly their testimonies will result in immediate imprisonment. 

Sarah McFadden

General Coordinator