Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to prison by military junta

Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted Monday of incitement and breaking COVID-19 rules by the military junta which has seized control of the country.

Suu Kyi was arrested by members of the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military, when it staged a coup on February 1 and has since been held in detention. The court initially sentenced her to four years in prison, but the leader of the junta, Min Aung Hlaing, reduced the sentence to two years. She faces other charges, including several charges of corruption and election fraud. Former Myanmar president Win Myint was also sentenced to four years on Monday on the same charges.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the regime to release Suu Kyi along with other political prisoners, called on the regime to end the use of violence and respect the will of the people, and “restore Burma’s democratic transition.” UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, referred to Suu Kyi and Myint as “hostages” rather than “prisoners” and called the trial a “theatre of the absurd and a gross violation of human rights.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet deplored Suu Kyi’s conviction and called for her release. She said it was a “sham trial” and “politically-motivated,” and said that, “This verdict against Aung San Suu Kyi will only deepen rejection of the coup.” The verdict comes a day after an attack by the military against unarmed protestors in Yangon. Several people were killed and more injured as a military vehicle drove through a crowd. Bachelet expressed concern that the verdict and the attack would only further exacerbate tensions and violence in the country.