Aung San Suu Kyi: Ousted leader ‘sentenced to four more years in jail’ in Myanmar

A court in Myanmar sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison on Monday after finding her guilty of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions, a legal official said.

Suu Kyi was convicted last month on two other charges and given a four-year prison sentence, which was then halved by the head of the military-installed government.

The cases are among about a dozen brought against the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate since the army seized power last February, ousting her elected government and arresting top members of her National League for Democracy party.

If found guilty of all the charges, she could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent analysts say the charges against her are contrived to legitimize the military’s seizure of power and prevent her from returning to politics.

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.

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.

The military-installed government has not allowed any outside party to meet with Suu Kyi since it seized power, despite international pressure for talks including her that could ease the country’s violent political crisis.

The military’s seizure of power was quickly met by nonviolent nationwide demonstrations, which security forces quashed with deadly force, killing over 1,400 civilians, according to a detailed list compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Peaceful protests have continued, but amid the severe crackdown, armed resistance has also grown, to the point that U.N. experts have warned the country could be sliding into civil war.

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