Home World News Burma: ex-leader Aung San Suu Kyi receives four more years in prison

Burma: ex-leader Aung San Suu Kyi receives four more years in prison

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The sentences and charges against former Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi are piling up. This Monday, the junta tightened its grip even more by condemning her to four years in prison in one part of her trial, at the end of which she risks decades of detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest since the military coup of February 1, 2021, was notably found guilty of illegally importing walkie-talkies, according to a source familiar with the matter. She had already been sentenced in December to four years in detention for violating restrictions on the coronavirus, a sentence reduced to two years by the generals in power.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is serving this first sentence in the place where she has been held incommunicado since her arrest almost a year ago. This new condemnation “risks further reinforcing the anger of the Burmese population”, reacted Manny Maung, researcher for the NGO Human Rights Watch. “Everyone knows that these accusations are false (…) The soldiers use this tactic of fear to keep her in arbitrary detention” and permanently remove her from the political arena, she added.

No warrant

Sedition, corruption, incitement to public unrest, electoral fraud… the former leader has been indicted on multiple occasions in recent months. Her trial is being held behind closed doors before a court set up specially in the capital Naypyidaw where she is being tried alongside one of her faithful, the former President of the Republic Win Myint, also arrested on February 1.

Several relatives of the former leader have already been sentenced to heavy sentences: 75 years in prison for a former minister, 20 years for one of his collaborators. Others went into exile or went into hiding. The coup has plunged the country into chaos: since then hundreds of civilians have been killed by security forces and anti-junta citizen militias have taken up arms across Burma.

The judgment pronounced on Monday concerned in particular the illegal importation of walkie-talkies. According to the prosecution, this contraband material was discovered during the search carried out in the official residence of Aung San Suu Kyi during his arrest. Some members of this commando admitted not having been in possession of any warrant to carry out this raid, according to a source familiar with the matter.

At least 175 activists dead in detention

The Nobel Prize winner has been cut off from the world for nearly a year, her only external links being limited to brief meetings with her lawyers, who are banned from speaking to the press and international organizations. At least 175 people, including many members of his party, the National League for Democracy (LND), are believed to have died in detention, “most likely as a result of ill-treatment or acts of torture,” denounced the Minister at the beginning of December. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

More than 1,400 civilians have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to a local NGO, the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners. The generals report a much less heavy toll. They justified their passage in force by alleging massive fraud during the 2020 elections, won overwhelmingly by the NLD.

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