Myanmar’s deposed state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been sentenced to four years in prison on the first charges leveled against her by the ruling military junta. Former President Win Myint received a similar sentence.
Suu Kyi was found guilty on Monday of inciting unrest and violating Covid-19 restrictions, a source familiar with the case told the media. The proceedings were closed to journalists and other spectators.
The incitement charge was reportedly linked to posts the National League for Democracy party shared online after its leaders, who had included Suu Kyi, were detained by the military in early 2021. In them, the party had called on other nations not to cooperate with the junta.
The purported Covid-19 rules violation occurred during an election campaign event in November 2020. Suu Kyi denied she had broken the rules of her house arrest by waving to a National League for Democracy party campaign convoy that had passed in front of her house in the capital, Naypyidaw.
The 76-year-old politician, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle against military rule, faces a total of 11 charges, including anti-corruption law violations and misappropriating funds, which could see her being sentenced to up to 102 years behind bars, according to some reports. The UN has previously denounced the trial as politically motivated.
Suu Kyi’s co-defendant, ousted president Win Myint, was also sentenced to four years in jail. Suu Kyi became the state counsellor – a post equivalent to prime minister – after her party won a landslide victory in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
In 2020, her party won the election again, but the military declared the results to be fraudulent and deposed Suu Kyi’s government in a coup d’état on February 1, 2021. There has been public resistance to the military administration ever since, with Suu Kyi’s supporters staging mass protests that sparked violent crackdowns by the junta.
On Sunday, during one such protest in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, a security forces vehicle rammed the crowd, killing five protesters.