A Myanmar court sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to an additional four years in prison on charges related to illegally importing and owning walkie-talkies and for breaking pandemic rules, per AFP
It’s the latest verdict in a slew of cases brought by Myanmar’s junta that could see the 76-year-old Nobel laureate imprisoned for the rest of her life.
The big picture
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won Myanmar’s 2020 elections in a landslide, but the military overthrew the government and detained her and other officials in a coup last February.
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- Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years in December by a junta court for inciting public unrest and breaking COVID-19 protocols. This was later reduced to two years.
- She denies all charges she’s accused of and faces 102 years in prison if convicted.
Meanwhile, security forces have killed hundreds of activists and arrested thousands of others following massive protests in the wake of the coup.
What’s next: Other charges Suu Kyi faces include multiple counts of corruption and violating the Official Secrets Act.
- Suu Kyi, ousted President Win Myint and several other officials have also been charged with alleged electoral fraud, AFP notes.
Monday’s verdict in the court in the capital, Naypyitaw, was conveyed by a legal official who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities, who have restricted the release of information about Suu Kyi’s trials.
He said she was sentenced to two years in prison under the Export-Import Law for importing the walkie-talkies and one year under the Telecommunications Law for possessing them. The sentences are to be served concurrently. She also received a two-year sentence under the Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly violating coronavirus rules while campaigning.
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Suu Kyi was convicted last month on two other charges
Incitement and breaching COVID-19 restrictions — and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. Hours after that sentence was issued, the head of the military-installed government, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, reduced it by half.
Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in a 2020 general election, but the military claimed there was widespread electoral fraud, an assertion that independent poll watchers doubt.
Since her first guilty verdict, Suu Kyi has been attending court hearings in prison clothes — a white top and a brown longyi skirt provided by the authorities. She is being held by the military at an unknown location, where state television reported last month she would serve her sentence.
The hearings are closed to the media and spectators and the prosecutors do not comment. Her lawyers, who had been a source of information on the proceedings, were served with gag orders in October.
Reuters with additional input by GVS