Wednesday, January 19

Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to another four years in prison

Myanmar’s ousted prime minister, Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has been sentenced to another four years in prison. A number of charges remain. “Politically motivated hoax”, says the UN summit.

Myanmar’s ousted prime minister, Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has been sentenced to another four years in prison. She has been convicted of illegal importation and possession of walkie-talkies and of violating corona rules.

Suu Kyi has been found guilty on two counts in the case where she was charged with illegal import and possession of walkie-talkies and on one point in the case where she is accused of violating the corona rules.

76-year-old Suu Kyi, who in 1990 was awarded the Norwegian Rafto Prize and the following year the Nobel Peace Prize, was sentenced in December to prison for sedition and breach of coronary restrictions.

The sentence was actually four years ‘imprisonment, but it was commuted to two years’ house arrest.

There have been widespread protests and clashes in Myanmar since the military seized power in a coup and put Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party under house arrest on February 1 last year.

A military junta has since ruled with an iron fist and cracked down on peaceful demonstrations. More than 1,300 people have been killed and more than 11,000 arrested since then, according to local activists.

Several charges

The military junta’s spokesman, Major General Zaw Min Tun, on Monday confirmed the verdict against Suu Kyi and said that she will be placed under house arrest for the time being while the court decides on the remaining charges.

Suu Kyi is also charged with several cases of corruption and violation of the law on state secrets, and if she is found guilty of all eleven charges, the final sentence could be more than 100 years in prison.

She and several other NLD leaders are also charged with electoral fraud. One of the NLD leaders has already been sentenced to 75 years in prison, while several others have been covered.

The verdict she received in December was condemned internationally and sparked new protests in Myanmar. It was the military junta’s leader Min Aung Hlaing who turned it into a house arrest.

Strong condemnation

Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent observers believe the indictment against Suu Kyi is an attempt by the military junta to legitimize her own takeover and prevent her from ever returning to politics.

Amnesty International calls the trial of Suu Kyi “fatherly”, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the December ruling as “a further attack on democracy and justice” in Myanmar.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet calls the trial a “politically motivated hoax” and demands the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The EU has also reacted strongly, calling the trial a further violation of human rights by the military coup plotters.

Looking at her as a threat

“General Min Aung Hlaing and the junta obviously see her as a threat that must be neutralized for good,” Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Monday.

He calls the lawsuit against Suu Kyi “a circus of secret hearings and false accusations”, which is constantly growing.

“Aung San Suu Kyi has once again become a symbol of what is happening in the country and is back in the role of political hostage, held by the military who at all costs will retain power through intimidation and violence,” he said.

“Fortunately, for both her and Myanmar’s future, the Myanmar people’s movement has now grown into something far more than a woman and a party,” says Robertson.

In December, more than 30 people were massacred in Kayah, Myanmar by what witnesses said were government soldiers.

Intimidation tactics

Manny Maung of Human Rights Watch believes Monday’s verdict will result in new demonstrations against the military junta in the country.

“The announcement of the previous verdict resulted in one of the most active days on social media ever in Myanmar and made the residents very angry,” she said.

– For the military, this is a scare tactic, but it only leads to more anger in the population, Maung believes.

Journalists were not allowed to be present during the trial against Suu Kyi, and her defenders are banned from speaking to the media.

Denied contact

Suu Kyi has previously been under house arrest for over 15 years in the family’s old house on the shores of Inya Lake in the country’s largest city, Yangon. It is not known where she is currently under house arrest as she is refused to communicate with the outside world.

The military junta has also denied access to her special envoy from the Southeast Asian Cooperation Organization (ASEAN), which led to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing being declared undesirable at the October summit.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, who holds the presidency of ASEAN this year, was also not allowed to visit Suu Kyi when he was the first head of state after the coup to visit Myanmar last week.

My Aung Hlaing is Myanmar’s military leader. He has cracked down hard on the protesters who demand freedom and democracy in the country.

Tafatt safety advice

In recent months, Norway has been pushing for the UN Security Council to discuss developments in Myanmar, but has not succeeded. Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor Party) believes the Security Council has failed.

– For both Ethiopia / Tigray and Myanmar, we must unfortunately be able to say that the Security Council has failed. Failed to prevent and failed to respond in a way that could have prevented serious human rights violations and spared major civilian casualties, she said recently.

According to Huitfeldt, Norway has pushed for urgent meetings and statements.

– Unfortunately, the response or statements have not been as strong as we would have liked. We would like to see that there was support among the council members to use more instruments, as the UN Charter prescribes, she said last week.

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