Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi jailed for further 4 years – What’s ex leader accused of?

Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to four years in prison

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Last year, power in Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – was seized by the country’s military in a coup, which involved detaining the then leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Since then, a number of charges have been levelled at her, which she strenuously denies. Last month, Ms Suu Kyi was found guilty in the first of a series of widely condemned trials being held against her. On Monday news emerged that she had been convicted of a second set of offences.

On Monday, a court in Myanmar sentenced Ms Suu Kyi to four more years in prison on top of her current sentence.

She was convicted for the illegal possession and import of walkie-talkies and breaking Covid rules.

Ms Suu Kyi has been detained since a military coup last February and faces around a dozen charges, all of which she denies.

Monday’s charges are believed to have stemmed from when her house was searched on the day of the coup, by forces led by General Min Aung Hlaing – who has appointed himself as Myanmar’s de facto leader.

They allege this is when the devices were discovered.

The media were banned from being present at Monday’s trial in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

In addition, Ms Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been barred from communicating with the media and public.

She had first been convicted in December and given a reduced jail sentence of two years.

On that occasion, the Nobel laureate was found guilty of incitement of dissent and breaking Covid rules.

Consequently, the latest sentence will bring her total jail term up to six years.

The trials are part of a number that are being held against the ousted leader, and that have been widely condemned by the international community.

Should Ms Suu Kyi be found guilty of all the remaining charges, she could eventually be jailed for life.

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In the aftermath of last December’s verdict, UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned it as a “sham trial”.

Legal proceedings against Ms Suu Kyi have been labelled, by Human Rights Watch, as a “courtroom circus of secret proceedings on bogus charges… so that (Aung San Suu Kyi) will remain in prison indefinitely”.

A statement by the group’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson also accused the military of securing convictions “in a kangaroo court on the flimsiest, politically motivated charges”.

Moreover, he claimed it was “running roughshod over the human rights of everyone, ranging from Suu Kyi… to the Civil Disobedience Movements activists on the street.”

Why was Ms Suu Kyi arrested?

Several months after Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won the November 2020 general elections by a landslide, the military seized power in Myanmar, last February.

They alleged voter fraud in the victory, however, independent election observers have said the elections were largely free and fair.

February’s coup triggered widespread demonstrations across the country, which Myanmar’s military responded to by cracking down on pro-democracy protesters, activists and journalists.

Ms Suu Kyi is one of more than 10,600 people to have been arrested by the junta since the coup was launched.

At least 1,303 others are estimated to have been killed in the demonstrations, according to the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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