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Suspect in attack on Suu Kyi home to face trial regardless of mental health

Suspect Win Naing is pictured behind potential evidentiary materials. (Photo: Yangon Police Force)

The Yangon Police Force has announced on its Facebook page that the suspected perpetrator of an attack in which a petrol bomb was hurled at State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence in Yangon will be prosecuted regardless of his medical condition.

The social media post indicated that in recent years the suspect had received treatment multiple times at a mental hospital.

On 1 February, the suspect allegedly targeted Suu Kyi’s residence on University Avenue in Bahan Township with a Molotov cocktail. No one was injured at the compound, and Suu Kyi herself was in Naypyidaw at the time.

A photo of the alleged offender began circulating online shortly after the incident, and the suspect was arrested the next day. He has been identified as Win Naing and according to his wife, he was employed at a construction site in the commercial capital, where police detained him on 2 February.

Questioned by police following his arrest, the suspect said that he lobbed the crude incendiary device at the lakeside home of Burma’s state counsellor because, according to the Yangon Police Force, he believed that a person or people inside the compound had engaged in sorcery. More specifically, he said a spell had been cast that caused him to smell a foul odour, which in turn prevented him from sleeping.

Win Naing previously received treatment at northeast Yangon’s Ywa Thar Gyi Mental Hospital some three times from 2013 to 2016, police said.

Suu Kyi’s home is something of a city landmark, given that she spent more than a decade under house arrest there. The gate outside her house was frequently a rallying point for Burma’s pro-democracy movement under military rule. Since she assumed her role as state counsellor, however, she has spent much of her time in the capital Naypyidaw, where she was on morning of the petrol bomb strike.