Former Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was deposed by a military coup in February this year, has been given a four-year jail term for crimes of dissent and breaking Covid rules.
The charges, which were described today as “bogus” by an Amnesty International spokesperson, are the first of 11 faced by Suu Kyi, which could result in her being placed in jail for life. Her supporters claim the military regime is planning to give her 100+ years of sentences.
Win Myint, the former president of Myanmar and an ally of Suu Kyi, has also been jailed for four years.
Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since the coup last year, which saw Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, overthrow the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD). The Tatmadaw’s allegations of electoral fraud in last year’s general elections, which the NLD won by a landslide, have been discredited by independent observers.
Since the coup, there has been a crackdown on cultural freedoms in Myanmar, with artists and filmmakers also being detained.
Alongside allegations of inciting political unrest, Suu Kyi was convicted on charges of violating Covid restrictions related to an instance when she waved at a group of supporters, while wearing a mask and face shield, during the general election campaign.
Liz Truss, the UK foreign secretary, released a statement today describing the sentencing as “another appalling attempt by Myanmar’s military regime to stifle opposition and suppress freedom and democracy”.
“The United Kingdom calls on the regime to release political prisoners, engage in dialogue and allow a return to democracy. The arbitrary detention of elected politicians only risks further unrest,” she added.
Suu Kyi previously spent 15 years in detention between 1989 and 2010. She was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize after her release for her efforts to democratize Myanmar. However, she also received criticism for her response to the genocide of the Rohingya people, when she refused to acknowledge Myanmar’s military had committed massacres.
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