Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Burmese Aung San Suu is sentenced to four years in prison

A Burmese junta court on Monday sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in prison on three counts, in one of the legal actions against the ousted ruler.

A source told AFP that the 76-year-old leader was found guilty of two charges for the alleged smuggling of radio communication devices (walkie-talkies) and another for breaking sanitary rules due to the coronavirus.

The walkie-talkies case originated when the military raided his home on the day of the coup and allegedly found the contraband equipment.

Monday’s sentence is in addition to the sentences handed down in December when she was sentenced to four years for incitement and for breaking health rules for the coronavirus during her election campaign.

The head of the military junta, Min Aung Hlaing, commuted the sentence to two years and said he could serve them under house arrest in the capital Naipyido.

Suu Kyi, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, has been in detention since February 1 when her government was overthrown by a coup that ended the brief democratic experiment in the Asian country.

The coup sparked general discontent, but security forces suppressed the demonstrations with mass arrests and violence that left more than 1,400 civilians dead, according to a local monitoring group.

Scare tactic

Last December’s ruling generated international condemnations and revived street protests hitting pots and pans in Burma.

Before the verdict, human rights researcher Manny Maung said new convictions would exacerbate national unrest.

“The announcement of his latest conviction resulted in one of the days of the most interactions on social media from within Burma and greatly angered the public,” he told AFP.

“The military calculates this (the Suu Kyi lawsuits) as a scare tactic, but it only serves to cause more anger,” he added.

Journalists do not have access to hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers are prohibited from speaking to the press.

Under a previous military junta, the civilian leader spent long periods under house arrest at her family’s mansion in Rangoon, Burma’s largest city.

She is currently confined to an undisclosed site in the capital, and her only contact with the outside world is meetings with her lawyers before court hearings.

In addition to Monday’s cases, she also faces various charges of corruption, each of which is punishable by 15 years in prison, and of violating the official secrets law.

In November, she and 15 other officials, including former President Win Myint, were charged with alleged electoral fraud in the 2020 elections.

His party, the National League for Democracy (LND), won the elections broadly over a party close to the military.

Since the coup, several of his political allies have been detained, and one minister was sentenced to 75 years in prison while others remain in hiding.

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Burmese Aung San Suu is sentenced to four years in prison