In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi Sentenced to 4 More Years

Myanmar’s fallen civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted on Monday and sentenced to four years in prison for possessing walkie-talkies in her home and violating Covid-19 protocols.

In total, 76-year-old Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to a total of six years in prison so far, and many other charges are pending against her.

Monday’s guilty verdict on three counts comes in addition to his December 5 conviction for inciting public unrest and a separate count of breaching the Covid-19 protocols. Initially sentenced to four years on these counts, that sentence was halved by the army’s commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the February 1 coup that brought it down. forced to leave office.

As the first anniversary of the coup approached, the court found Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of violating Myanmar’s import-export law and its law on telecommunications in possession of communications devices. His supporters said the walkie-talkies belonged to his security service and the accusations were bogus and politically motivated.

She was sentenced to two years on the Covid protocol, two years for importing walkie-talkies and one year for violating the telecommunications law. Sentences related to the walkie-talkie charges must be carried out simultaneously.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was held incommunicado in a house in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. Amnesty International called the charges a trumped-up walkie-talkie, saying “they suggest the military is desperately looking for a pretext to go on a witch hunt and intimidate anyone who challenges them.”

The charge of importing the devices – the first of many charges against her – was filed on February 3, two days after the coup, and court proceedings lasted nearly a year.

The guilty verdict for violating Covid protocols stems from an episode of the 2020 election campaign in which she stood outside, wearing a face mask and face shield, with her dog, Taichito, by her side, and doing sign to supporters passing by in vehicles. The same incident was the basis for his conviction on an almost identical charge in December.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi faces at least seven other counts – including five counts of corruption – with a potential maximum sentence of 89 years if found guilty on all remaining counts.

Human Rights Watch said the military regime was making itself look ridiculous by racking up convictions on light and politically motivated charges.

“The circus of the Burmese junta’s secret hearings on false accusations is to regularly rack up new convictions against Aung San Suu Kyi so that she remains in prison indefinitely,” said Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy director for Asia.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1991 and led her party, the National League for Democracy, to three landslide victories between 1990 and 2020, but the military did not allow her to form a government only once, in 2016.

She spent a total of 15 years under house arrest between 1989 and 2010. She then damaged her reputation as an international icon of democracy by failing to denounce the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims by the military, which led over 700,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh.

Since the coup, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted President U Win Myint have been placed under house arrest in undisclosed locations near the capital, Naypyidaw. Mr Win Myint was also convicted on December 5 of violating Covid-19 protocols and sentenced to four years. The putschist also cut his sentence in half.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s trials are taking place in a house in Naypyidaw which has been turned into a courtroom. No member of the public is allowed to attend and his lawyers are not allowed to speak about the case.

On December 30, a police court sentenced Daw Cherry Htet, 30, a police lieutenant and former bodyguard of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, to three years in prison for breaking the rules of police conduct by posting on Facebook posts that the court found to be inflammatory. .

In one message, she simply said, “We miss you Amay,” using the Burmese word for mother. The former bodyguard was also accused of communicating with the government of national unity, the shadow government formed after the coup by ousted elected officials and other opponents of the military.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentencing on Monday came as the military continued its efforts to quell pro-democracy protests, combat a nascent resistance movement and fight ethnic groups seeking autonomy. Soldiers and police have killed at least 1,447 civilians since the coup and detained nearly 8,500, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, a rights group.

The Tatmadaw, as the Burmese army is known, has been accused of carrying out one of its biggest massacres on Christmas Eve when soldiers killed at least 35 fleeing villagers and burned their bodies. Save the Children, one of the groups that condemned the massacre, said two of its staff were among those killed as they returned home for the Christmas holidays.

Sui-lee wee contributed report.

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