Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced by a military-controlled court in Myanmar to four years in prison after being convicted in three criminal cases, including illegal importation and possession of walkie-talkies.

The walkie-talkies have been discovered in a raid on the ousted leader’s government villa in the capital Naypyidaw during a coup in February.

A person with knowledge of the court proceedings told the Financial Times she was sentenced on Monday to two years for violating an export-import law and another year for violating Myanmar’s communications law.

The sentences should be served concurrently, according to the person, who spoke anonymously because the military junta banned the former leader’s lawyers from communicating with reporters.

She was also sentenced to another two years under Myanmar’s National Disaster Management Act for violating coronavirus rules, meaning the 76-year-old politician will serve a total of four years for the three cases.

Human Rights Watch calls the verdict a “courtroom circus of secret proceedings on false charges” aimed at keeping her in jail indefinitely, and described the conviction over the walkie-talkies as “ridiculous”.

Phil Robertson, HRW’s Deputy Director of Asia, said: “Of course, General Min Aung Hlaing and the junta leaders still regard her as an extreme political threat that needs to be permanently neutralized.”

Myanmar bans anyone convicted of crimes from holding political office.

Min brought Aung Hlaing’s regime about a dozen criminal cases against Aung San Suu Kyi since the February 1 coup. Last month she had a four years sentence for inciting discord against the military and violating the country’s disaster management law. Min Aung Hlaing halved that sentence to two years.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained by the regime in unknown locations since she was arrested along with numerous elected officials on the morning of the coup, including President Win Myint and Sean Turnell, an Australian academic who has served as her economic adviser.

The Nobel laureate, who remains extremely popular in Myanmar and led her National League for Democracy party to a second election victory in 2020, gave only limited access to attorneys.

Min Aung Hlaing’s regime has killed more than 1,400 people and arrested more than 11,000 since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the regional group currently chaired by Cambodia’s leader Hun Sen, is leading unsuccessful efforts to find a solution to the political crisis caused by the coup.

Twitter: @JohnReedwrites

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