A court in Myanmar has sentenced the country’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in jail, according to media reports.
A spokesman for Myanmar’s military told the AFP news agency that Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty on Monday of incitement and of violating COVID-19 rules.
Zaw Min Tun said she received two years in prison on each of the two charges.
Former President Win Myint was also jailed for four years under the same charges, he said, adding that the pair will not be taken to prison yet.
“They will face other charges from the places where they are staying now” in the capital Naypyidaw, he said, without giving further details.
Reuters and the Associated Press, citing sources familiar with the proceedings, also said Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint were sentenced to four years in prison each.
Monday’s ruling is the first in a dozen cases Myanmar’s military has brought against Aung San Suu Kyi since it deposed her civilian government in a coup on February 1.
Other cases against the Nobel Peace Prize laureate include multiple charges of corruption, violations of a state secrets act, and a telecoms law that altogether carry a maximum sentence of more than a century in prison.
Aung San Suu Kyi denies all the charges.
Her supporters say the cases are baseless and designed to end her political career and tie her up in legal proceedings while the military consolidates power.
Charles Santiago, a Malaysian legislator and chair of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), condemned Monday’s sentence, calling it a “travesty of justice”.
“Since the day of the coup, it’s been clear that the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, and the dozens of other detained MPs, have been nothing more than an excuse by the junta to justify their illegal power grab,” Santiago said, urging the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “hold the line against this illegal takeover”.
The 10-member regional bloc has been spearheading diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, and Santiago said Monday’s ruling demonstrates “the junta’s continuing contempt for ASEAN” and its peace plan, which includes initiating dialogue between the opposing sides in Myanmar.
“We continue our call for ASEAN to ban all junta representatives from its meetings, prevent junta generals from travelling in the region, and to engage with the duly-elected National Unity Government,” he said, referring to a parallel administration set up by deposed elected legislators.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the February coup, paralysed by protests and instability that escalated after the military’s deadly crackdown on its opponents, who it calls “terrorists”.
The international community has condemned the violence, and Western states and some ASEAN countries including Indonesia and the Philippines have demanded Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.
Amnesty International’s Ming Yu Hah said the sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi on “bogus charges are the latest example of the military’s determination to eliminate all opposition and suffocate freedoms in Myanmar”.
“The court’s farcical and corrupt decision is part of a devastating pattern of arbitrary punishment that has seen more than 1,300 people killed and thousands arrested since the military coup in February.”
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
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