Bangkok: A Myanmar court sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison on Monday after being found guilty of illegally importing, possessing a walkie-talkie and violating coronavirus restrictions. A law officer gave this information.
Suu Kyi was convicted last month on two other counts and given a four-year prison sentence, which was later halved by the head of the country’s military government.
The cases include nearly a dozen cases filed against the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate since the military overthrew Suu Kyi’s government and took over power in Myanmar in February last year.
List could face up to 100 years in prison if found guilty in all cases.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say the charges against her are aimed at legitimizing the military’s actions and preventing her from returning to politics.
A law official said on the condition of anonymity that a court in Myanmar’s capital ‘Nay Pyi Taw’ gave this ruling on Monday.
He said he was sentenced to two years under the Export-Import Act for importing a ‘walkie-talkie’ and one year under the Telecom Act for possessing it. The punishment will be served simultaneously. He was also sentenced to two years under the Natural Disaster Management Act for allegedly violating restrictions related to the corona virus during the election campaign.
Suu Kyi was also convicted last month of two other charges of violating COVID-19 restrictions and inciting people to violate them and sentenced to four years in prison. Hours after his sentencing, the head of Myanmar’s military government, Min Aung Laing, had his sentence halved.
Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in the last general election, but the military says the election was largely rigged. However, independent election watchdogs are skeptical of this claim.
The latest sentence in the legal proceedings has been criticized by rights groups as a farce and the courtroom as a circus, according to news agency Reuters.
Rights group Amnesty International said on Twitter on Monday that the new convictions were the latest in a ridiculous trial against the civilian leader. At the same time, it called for the release of Suu Kyi and thousands of others unjustly detained since the coup.
Suu Kyi’s supporters say the cases against her are baseless and designed to end her political career and leave the military free to run for power free of any challenge.
Her trial has been closed to the media and Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been barred from communicating with the media and the public.
The military has not disclosed where Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest under the previous military government, is being held.
Phil Robertson, Asia’s deputy director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement: “The covert proceedings on false charges at the courtroom circus of the Myanmar junta are aimed at continuing and further punishing him so that he remains in prison indefinitely.”
Military ruler Min Aung Hlaing said last month that Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint would stay in the same place during their trial and would not be jailed.
Significantly, the military in Myanmar took over the reins of the country on February 1, 2021, ousting the elected government of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and placing him and other leaders of his party under house arrest.
Myanmar’s military took control of the country for a year, saying it had handed over power to Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing over fraud in the country’s November elections.
The military says one reason Suu Kyi’s elected civilian government was removed is because it failed to properly investigate allegations of widespread election irregularities.
In the November 2020 elections, Suu Kyi’s party won 396 out of a total of 476 seats in the lower and upper houses of parliament, much higher than the majority figure of 322, but according to a constitution drafted by the military in 2008. Under this, 25 percent of the total seats were given to the army.
(with input from news agency language)
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