A court in Myanmar sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison today 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.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say the charges against her are contrived to legitimize the military’s actions and prevent her from returning to politics.
In December 2021, Suu Kyi had been convicted on two other charges for incitement and breaching Covid-19 rules while campaigning and was awarded a sentence of four years. However, this got halved to two years and the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate was allowed to serve her term under house arrest in the capital city of Naypyidaw.
Monday’s charge of possessing walkie-talkies stems from when soldiers raided Suu Kyi’s residence on the day of the military coup on February 1, 2021, allegedly discovering the contraband equipment, according to news agency AFP.
Right after Suu Kyi’s government was ousted by the junta, Myanmar witnessed widespread protests against the military rule with security forces resorting to mass detentions and bloody crackdowns. More than 1,400 civilians have lost their lives.
Suu Kyi is also on trial in nearly a dozen cases that carry combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years in prison. The ousted leader has denied all these charges.
On the other hand, Suu Kyi’s supporters have said that the charges are contrived to legitimise the military’s actions and prevent her return to politics.
The military junta has not yet issued a statement on Suu Kyi’s sentence but pointed out that she was being given due process by an independent court led by a judge appointed by her own administration.
The junta has also refused to disclose the location where she will be detained. Suu Kyi’s trial in Naypyitaw has been closed to journalists and lawyers are not allowed to speak to the media or public.