Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi is facing more charges, having been accused of “election fraud and lawless actions” by the military government.
She was among 16 people to be charged on Tuesday, including Myanmar’s ousted president and the capital city’s mayor.
Ms Suu Kyi, 76, has not been seen in public since a military coup in February removed her from office.
Meanwhile Myanmar’s army spokesman told the BBC that Ms Suu Kyi is being treated well while under house arrest.
I mean we let her live with her own people in a house although she is under house arrest,” Maj Gen Zaw Min Tun said.
“We try our best for her, what she wants or whatever she wants to eat.”
But Ms Suu Kyi’s lawyers said that the military junta has banned them from speaking publicly about her case, and United Nations officials demanding to see her have not been allowed into the country.
The UN has said that the military crackdown could amount to crimes against humanity, but its envoys have repeatedly been denied access to Myanmar to investigate.
The major general said they were not being allowed in because “it is not the right time… we can’t agree with their demands… and what they say about Myanmar is not constructive.”
He added that the UN needs to acknowledge the military’s governance of Myanmar.
- BACKGROUND: The general who returned Myanmar to military rule
- AS IT HAPPENED: Myanmar coup: What happened and why?
- PROFILE: Democracy icon who fell from grace
The junta has justified the pre-dawn coup in February by alleging there was voter fraud in last year’s general elections, which Ms Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide.
Independent election monitors say the vote was largely free and fair, and the charges against Ms Suu Kyi have been widely criticised as politically motivated.
The group of 16 facing new charges on Tuesday include ousted president Win Myint and Nay Pyi Taw’s former mayor Myo Aung.
The junta has made various allegations against Ms Suu Kyi since she was detained, including breaking a colonial-era official secrets law, corruption and possessing illegal walkie-talkies.
She has appeared in court but little has been seen or heard from her apart from these brief appearances.
A spokesman for the newly formed National Unity Government, a group made up of pro-democracy figures and opponents of the coup, told the BBC Ms Suu Kyi is struggling.
“She is not OK… She will be charged, sentenced. Military generals are preparing for 104 years of sentences for her in prison. They want her to die in prison”, Dr Sasa said.
Aung San Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years in detention at the hands of the military between 1989 and 2010, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to bring democracy to Myanmar.
Her party won a landslide victory in 2015, but she was prevented from becoming president herself by rules excluding those with foreign national children from holding that office. She was widely regarded as the de facto ruler of the country.
However her reputation abroad was severely damaged by the way she handled the Rohingya crisis, which started in 2017. Critics accuse her of ignoring widespread allegations of mass murder, rape and forced deportation of the stateless mainly Muslim minority ethnic group who live in western Myanmar.
In 2019 Ms Suu Kyi appeared at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) to defend her country against accusations of genocide