YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was jailed for two years on Monday after being found guilty of incitement against the military and breaching Covid rules
— in a ruling that drew swift international condemnation.
A special court initially sentenced the 76-year-old Nobel laureate to four years in prison, but she was partially “pardoned” hours later by the junta chief, who halved the sentence to two years.
The United States led international condemnation of the sentences, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling the convictions “unjust” and “affronts to democracy and justice.”
“We urge the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained,” he said in a statement.
United Nations rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the conviction “following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically-motivated.”
The Nobel Committee said it was “concerned” for the 1981 Peace Prize laureate, saying it feared the consequences “for the future of democracy in Myanmar” but also the “impact a long prison term may have on Aung San Suu Kyi personally.”
The pardon was “more stage managed than even the sentencing itself,” International Crisis Group’s Myanmar senior advisor Richard Horsey told AFP.
Suu Kyi has been detained since the generals staged a coup and ousted her government on 1 February, ending the Southeast Asian country’s brief period of democracy.
She has since been hit with a series of charges, including violating the official secrets act, illegally importing walkie talkies and electoral fraud, and faces decades in prison if convicted on all counts.
Former president Win Myint was also initially jailed for four years on Monday, but was also “pardoned” by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and sentenced to “two years imprisonment,” according to a statement read out on state TV.
They will serve their sentences by remaining under house arrest in the capital of Naypyidaw, the statement said, without giving further details.