Jun 22, 2022
Myanmars Suu Kyi moved from secret location to prison
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BANGKOK (AP) — Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was transferred Wednesday from a secret detention location to a prison in the country’s capital, legal officials familiar with her case said. Her ongoing court cases will be tried at a new facility constructed in the prison compound, they said.
Suu Kyi was arrested on Feb.1, 2021, when the army seized power from her elected government. She was initially held at her residence in the capital, but was later moved to at least one other location, and for about the past year has been held at an undisclosed location in the capital, Naypyitaw, generally assumed to be on a military base.
She has been tried on multiple charges, including corruption, at a special court in Naypyitaw that began hearings on May 24, 2021. Each of the 11 corruption counts she faces is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Already she has been sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment after being convicted on charges of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions. In addition to the corruption cases that are underway, she also has been charged with election fraud and violating the Officials Secrets Act.
Suu Kyi’s supporters and rights groups say the charges against her are politically motivated and are an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s seizure of power while keeping her from returning to politics.
Many senior members of her government and party were also arrested and tried, and several are co-defendants in some of her cases. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a private organization that tracks government killings and arrests, a total of 11,174 people are currently in detention for suspected opposition to the ruling military council.
Suu Kyi, who turned 77 on Sunday, spent about 15 years in detention under a previous military government, but virtually all of it was under house arrest at her family home in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.
Three legal officials said Suu Kyi’s lawyers were informed Tuesday that a new building at the prison has been completed and all Suu Kyi’s remaining court hearings will be held there starting on Thursday. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to release any information about her cases.
One of the officials said the government intended to put her in solitary confinement after her first conviction last year, but had to wait until the new facilities at the main prison in Naypyitaw were completed.
No government spokesperson was available to confirm Suu Kyi’s move.
The secret location where she had been held for about the past year was a residence where she had nine people to help with her living arrangements, along with a dog that was a gift arranged by one of her sons.
Australian economist Sean Turnell, who was an adviser to Suu Kyi, is being held at the same prison where Suu Kyi was sent.
Turnell and Suu Kyi are being prosecuted in the same case under the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, so both are to appear at the court inside the prison on Thursday.
In addition to the 11 counts of corruption, Suu Kyi and several colleagues have been charged with election fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of three years.
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Local News | Cupertino loses latest city manager in four years, and mayor wanted to hold off on disclosing it
After a six-hour council meeting and shortly after midnight on June 22, Jim Throop submitted his resignation, stating that he had “decided to retire from local government service.” Throop, whose last day will be July 22, came to Cupertino following a three-and-a-half years stint as the city manager of Lompoc in Santa Barbara County. He only been at Cupertino for six months.
Throop did not respond to a request for comment by this news organization.
In a statement, the pro-housing group Cupertino For All called his resignation a “scathing indictment of the current city council leadership.”
“Cupertino residents should replace this current ‘Better Cupertino’ affiliated council members with individuals who understand basic governance, the role of the city council in our manager-council form of government, and the importance of working with staff in a cooperative, productive and respectful manner,” the statement said in reference to the slow-growth group that has backed several current council members.
The council has already offered the city’s top job to the runner-up candidate found during the recent recruitment. According to a recent press release, the candidate has accepted the position, but negotiations are ongoing. And, though the city announced it had “retained” former Interim City Manager Greg Larson as a consultant to help with the transition starting July 5, it has been unable to produce a signed agreement with him, and the city attorney said negotiations are still ongoing.
To add to the mystery of Throop’s pending departure, Mayor Darcy Paul asked him to keep the decision under wraps, according to an email obtained by this news organization.
Within two hours of Throop’s email, Paul responded and CC’ed city attorney Chris Jensen asking if they could “hold off on making a public announcement” about his resignation so the council could first “meet and discuss.”
“For the stability of the city, it makes sense to work together on an announcement or press release,” Paul wrote. “I would anticipate that we could turn that around within a week.”
The city sent out a press release two days later announcing the city manager’s departure. The mayor did not respond to a request for comment and instead referred questions to Jensen who said the city wanted to delay the announcement until they had a chance to meet to discuss the recruitment of a new city manager.
While the decision to hold off on announcing Throop’s resignation doesn’t break any laws, it raises issues around transparency and public trust, First Amendment Coalition Executive Director David Snyder said.
From a good government perspective, he said that “timely transparency is almost always the better course.”
“The public is always better served when public agencies are forthcoming and prompt about major changes like this,” Snyder added. “It only serves to foster mistrust of the government when they unnecessarily delay the shift in city policy or city staffing.”
In addition to Throop and the three previous city managers, Cupertino’s had three interim city managers since 2018.
An audit conducted in 2020 by Campbell-based consulting firm Moss Adams, found the city’s governance as the second-highest risk factor to the city.
According to the auditors, the city “doesn’t not have a strategic plan and the council sometimes operates at more of an operational rather than strategic level, focusing on immediate action items and implementation details rather than setting long-term strategic goals.”
“This contributes to a reactive environment where staff priorities can change depending on the council’s interests,” the audit said.