Myanmar’s Suu Kyi hit with new convictions and jail term
YANGON: A junta court in Myanmar today (January 10) found Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of three charges and sentenced her to four years in prison in a series of trials against the ousted civilian leader.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained since February 1, 2021, when her government was forced to resign in an early morning coup. Photo: AFP
The Nobel Prize winner has been jailed since February 1 of last year when an early morning coup forced her government to resign, ending Myanmar’s short-lived experiment in democracy.
The generals’ seizure of power sparked widespread disagreement, which security forces attempted to suppress with mass arrests and bloody raids that killed more than 1,400 civilians, according to a local surveillance group.
A source with knowledge of the case relates AFP The 76-year-old has been found guilty of two charges of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and one of violating coronavirus rules.
The walkie-talkie allegations stem from the raid on the day of the coup, who allegedly discovered the contraband.
Today’s ruling complements the sentences the court handed down in December when she was sentenced to four years in prison for inciting and violating COVID-19 rules during the election campaign.
Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing reduced her sentence to two years and said she could serve her sentence under house arrest in the capital, Naypyidaw.
‘Fear tactic ‘
The December verdict drew international condemnation and the people of Myanmar reverted to old protest tactics of beating pots and pans out of anger.
Leading up to the verdict, Manny Maung, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said further convictions would fuel national discontent.
“The announcement of her latest conviction resulted in one of the highest days of social media interaction in Myanmar and deeply angered the public,” she said AFP.
“The military is counting this (the cases) as a fear tactic, but it is only used to fuel more public anger.”
Journalists were banned from attending hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers were muzzled to speak to the media.
Under a previous junta regime, Suu Kyi spent long periods of time under house arrest in her family villa in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.
Today she is imprisoned in an unknown location in the capital, her connection to the outside world is limited to brief meetings with her lawyers before the trial.
In addition to today’s cases, she is also confronted in several cases of corruption – each punishable by 15 years in prison – and the violation of official secrecy.
In November, she and 15 other officials, including Myanmar President Win Myint, were also charged with alleged electoral fraud in the 2020 elections.
Her party, the National League for Democracy, had won a landslide in the polls and defeated a military-oriented party by a larger margin than in the last election in 2015.
Many of their political allies have been arrested since the coup, with one prime minister sentenced to 75 years in prison while others have gone into hiding.