Friday, February 3, 2023

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi faces 26 years in prison after new convictions

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Military-ruled Myanmar on Wednesday sentenced former leader Aung San Suu
Kyi to three more years in prison following convictions in two corruption cases.

Judicial sources told dpa that she was given three-year sentences in each of the two cases, which are to be served concurrently.

They are the latest in a string of convictions Suu Kyi has faced since being ousted in a military coup in February 2021.

The 77-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner’s prison term has been extended to a total of 26 years for corruption, incitement, breaching
COVID-19 rules, electoral fraud and violating the official secrets act.

Suu Kyi has been in solitary confinement at a prison in the capital Naypyidaw since June after being placed under house arrest in the wake of the military coup.

The proceedings took place behind closed doors and Suu Kyi’s lawyers are not allowed to speak to the media.

The cases have been widely denounced as military-staged show trials intended to discredit previous civilian leaders like Suu Kyi and bolster the junta’s own standing.

Myanmar has been in political turmoil since the coup on February 1, 2021. The military has violently cracked down on pro-democracy protests and civil society groups as it seeks to quash armed resistance by anti-junta militias across the country.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group which documents killings and other abuses, said at least 2,340 people have been killed and more than 15,800 arrested since the coup.

A Japanese freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker was sentenced to three more years in prison on Wednesday for violating immigration laws, a source familiar with the proceedings said.

Earlier, a military tribunal in Myanmar jailed Toru Kubota for seven years for violating sedition and communications laws. With the latest ruling, he is due to spend a decade behind bars.

Kubota entered Myanmar on July 1 and was arrested on July 30 after filming a small anti-government rally in Yangon.

In September, Suu Kyi’s Australian economic adviser Sean Turnell, a professor of economics at Macquarie University in Australia, was sentenced to three years for violating an official secrets act.

Also in September, Britain’s former ambassador to Myanmar, Vicky Bowman, was given one year for breaching the immigration laws, along with her husband Htein Lin, a famous artist in Myanmar and a former political prisoner.

dpa/NAN

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