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Former Myanmar government leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to two years in prison by military junta

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In Myanmar, former government leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to two years in prison. A court initially gave her four years, but the leader of the military junta partially pardoned her and reduced the sentence to two years. Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted early this year after a military coup d’état in Myanmar. It was carried out because, according to the army, election fraud had been committed. 

Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of inciting unrest and violating corona measures during last year’s election campaign. She was given two years by the court for each of those charges. So four years together, which was later halved.

Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted early this year after a military coup d’état in Myanmar. In total, she has been charged with at least eleven offences. So there are other charges looming over her head. If found guilty of everything, she could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

“There are eleven complaints in total. Together with good for 102 years in prison. Then she would actually get a life sentence since she is now in her seventies,” says Dutch correspondent Annelie Langerak from Thailand. “The court hearings are closed. The start of the process was secret, also from her own lawyers. Media are not allowed,” said Langerak.

Suu Kyi, now 76, led an elected civilian government that was overthrown by the military in February.

“The junta said she would get a fair trial, but the courts are under the control of the military,” Annelie Langerak said. The former head of government is not locked up in prison but in an unknown location. In any case, she will remain there for the time being – even after this verdict.

According to Langerak, her popularity is above all a threat to the power of the army: “Of course she remains a major threat to the army, because of her enormous popularity. In the last election, she won so much more votes than the army’s candidates that the latter had to intervene urgently.”

Suu Kyi himself came into disrepute after the army cracked down on minorities in Myanmar. Suu Kyi did not condemn that violence. In 1991, the politician was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The Nobel Peace Prize Committee has already criticized the conviction. “The judiciary in Myanmar has little credibility,” the chairman said. The committee is concerned about the impact of the verdict on democracy in the country.

The reaction of the United States is even sharper. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called it “a blow to democracy and justice” in Myanmar in a written statement.

The European Union calls it a “politically motivated” verdict and calls on the Myanmar junta to immediately release all political prisoners.

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