Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to four more years in prison

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  • Aung San Suu Kyi
    Aung San Suu Kyi
    Current State Counsellor of Myanmar and Leader of the National League for Democracy
The ousted leader’s supporters say the cases against her are baseless (EPA)
The ousted leader’s supporters say the cases against her are baseless (EPA)

A court in Myanmar has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in jail on charges including possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies.

It means the Nobel laureate faces a six-year jail term after two convictions last month. She is also on trial in nearly a dozen cases that carry combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years in prison. She denies all charges.

The latest sentencing in legal proceedings has been criticised by human rights groups as a farce and a “courtroom circus”.

Suu Kyi, 76, appeared calm when the verdict was read out on Monday in a court in the capital, Naypyitaw.

She was detained on the day of the 1 February coup and days later police said six illegally imported walkie-talkies were found during a search of her home.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price calling the convictions “an affront to justice and the rule of law” and demanded her release and the release of other political detainees.

The court handed her a two-year sentence for breaching an export-import law by possessing the handheld radios and one year for having a set of signal jammers. The two sentences will run concurrently, said a source familiar with proceedings.

She was also sentenced to two years on another charge of breaching a natural disaster management law related to coronavirus rules, the source said.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup against Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government led to widespread protests and signalled the end of 10 years of tentative political reforms that followed decades of strict military rule.

Amnesty International said on Twitter on Monday the new convictions were “the latest act in the farcical trial against the civilian leader”.

“The latest verdict against Aung San Suu Kyi is a politically motivated verdict. Aung San Suu Kyi continues to be the leading champion of democracy in Myanmar,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told Reuters.

“The Nobel Committee is deeply concerned about her situation,” she added.

Suu Kyi’s supporters say the cases against her are baseless and designed to end her political career and leave the military free to wield power in the country.

The junta says Suu Kyi is being given due process by an independent court led by a judge appointed by her own administration. A spokesman for the military council could not be immediately reached for comment.

Her trial has been closed to the media and Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been barred from communicating with the media and public.

The military has not disclosed where Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest under a previous military government, is being detained.

In some recent court hearings, Suu Kyi has been wearing a white top and a brown wraparound longyi typically worn by Myanmar prisoners, sources have said.

Military ruler Min Aung Hlaing last month said Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint would remain in the same location during their trials and would not be sent to prison.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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