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

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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to four more years in jail
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to four more years in jail

Africa-Press – Ghana. Bangkok, Jan 10, (dpa/GNA) – A Myanmar court on Monday sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison, according to sources familiar with the court proceedings.

She was accused of breaking coronavirus restrictions and possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies. She allegedly broke telecommunications and import-export laws in relation to the walkie-talkies.

Journalists and members of the public were excluded from the trial, so Suu Kyi’s reaction is unknown. Twelve legal cases have been brought against Suu Kyi, 76. Experts say she could face jail time totalling more than 100 years.

In a first verdict in December, she was given four years in prison for inciting unrest and violating Covid-19 restrictions. Myanmar’s military rulers then reduced her sentence to two years.

It is unclear whether Suu Kyi will serve time in prison or be allowed to remain under house arrest. She was arrested on February 1 last year, hours before the military overthrew the country’s democratically elected civilian leaders.

Observers and rights experts call her case a show trial and suspect the military junta wants to silence her. She already spent 15 years under house arrest before her last release, which paved the way for her to become the de facto head of government in 2016.

She has been accused of a range of offenses, including violating a state secrets law and foreign trading laws. For waving to supporters, she was charged with breaching coronavirus restrictions, despite wearing a face mask and a protective visor.

The new convictions were roundly condemned by Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director, Human Rights Watch. “The Myanmar junta’s courtroom circus of secret proceedings on bogus charges is all about steadily piling up more convictions against Aung San Suu Kyi so that she will remain in prison indefinitely,” Robertson said.

“The Myanmar military junta is running roughshod over the human rights of everyone, ranging from Suu Kyi and other elected officials of the previous government to the CDM activists on the street,” he said in a statement on Monday.

“Once again, Aung San Suu Kyi has become a symbol of what is happening to her country and returned to the role of political hostage of a military, hell-bent on controlling power by using intimidation and violence.”

Myanmar has been in political turmoil since the coup. The junta has used brutal force to suppress protests and resistance movements. Prisoners’ aid organization AAPP says more than 1,400 people have been killed and around 11,000 arrested.

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