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Myanmar’s 76-year-old deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was sentenced to four years on charges of incitement and breaking the COVID-19 rules in February. She also hit a dozen charges that add up to more than 100 years combined sentences. The sentence was the first in a dozen cases against the ousted leader and Nobel Prize winner. However, her sentence was halved by the country’s military on Monday.
The junta chief Min Aung Hlaing reduced Suu Kyi’s jail sentence to two years. Before Suu Kyi was ousted detained by the military, she was a state counselor and de facto leader.
The sentences include multiple charges of corruption, which carries 15 years prison sentence, inciting, violating COVID-19 restrictions during the 2020 election campaign, and breaking the colonial-era Official Secrets Act for a maximum of 14 years, and illegal importing and possessing walkie talkies.
She denied all the allegations and dismissed them as politically motivated. However, the initial sentence by the Zabuthiri Court in Naypyidaw was for two years imprisonment for incitement, and another two years for violating section 25 of Disaster Management Law, according to the sources close to the trial.
The statement said that they would serve their sentences under house arrest in the capital of Naypyidaw without giving more details. A gag order was imposed on Suu Kyi’s legal team and supporters to keep them from speaking with the media.
Tom Andrews, United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, said that Suu Kyi and Win Myint are “hostages, not criminals.” Dr. Sasa told CNN:
“The people of Myanmar have said enough is enough to these crimes against humanity, these atrocities and do or die. But the military junta in Myanmar are trying to increase more fear, more pain, more suffering, more deaths, and more destruction, by making all of these show trials. This plays for all of the people of Myanmar to see this happen.”
The US Embassy was alarmed by the reports that security forces knockdown, shot, and killed several peaceful protesters. The United Kingdom said on Monday that the sentencing was, “another appalling attempt by Myanmar’s military regime to stifle opposition and suppress freedom and democracy” and called on the “regime to release political prisoners, engage in dialogue and allow a return to democracy.”
The original sentences against Suu Kyi were immediately condemned by Amnesty International. The UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the conviction was politically motivated.
Bloody clashes with anti-coup protesters continue across the country. There is no sign of knocking the general off of course even with the international pressure on the junta to restore democracy.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
CNN: Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi faces two years in jail after her sentence is halved; by Helen Regan
AlJazeera: Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to jail; by Aung San Suu Kyi
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Asia Society’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Patrick Dinnen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License