A Myanmar court has sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to four years in prison, media reported.
A spokesman for the Burmese army told AFP news agency that Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty on Monday of inciting and breaking COVID-19 rules.
Zaw Min Tun said she was sentenced to two years in prison on each of the two counts.
Former President Win Myint was also jailed for four years on the same charges, he said, adding that the couple would not be jailed yet.
“They will face further charges from the places where they are currently staying” in the capital Naypyidaw, he said, without giving further details.
Reuters and Associated Press news agencies, citing sources familiar with the matter, also said that Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint were sentenced to four years in prison each.
Naypyidaw’s trial has been closed to media, while the military has banned Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers from communicating with the media and the public.
Monday’s decision is the first in a dozen cases the military has brought against the 76-year-old since she toppled her civilian government in a February 1 coup.
Other cases against the Nobel Peace Prize winner include multiple charges of corruption, violations of a state secrets law and a telecommunications law which, in total, carry a maximum penalty. more than a century in prison.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who had spent 15 years under house arrest under a previous military government, denies all charges.
His supporters say the cases are baseless and designed to end his political career and lock him into legal action while the military consolidates power.
Charles Santiago, a Malaysian lawmaker and chair of the ASEAN Human Rights Parliamentarians (APHR), condemned Monday’s conviction, calling it a “travesty of justice.”
“Since the day of the coup, it is clear that the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and dozens of other detained deputies were only an excuse for the junta to justify their illegal seizure of power,” Santiago said, urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “hold the line against this illegal takeover.”
The 10-member regional bloc has spearheaded diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, and Santiago said Monday’s decision demonstrated “the junta’s continued contempt for ASEAN” and its peace plan, agreed with the Myanmar military in April and which includes the opening of a dialogue between the opposing camps in the country.
“We continue our call for ASEAN to ban all junta representatives from its meetings, to prevent junta generals from traveling to the region and to engage with the duly elected government of national unity. “, he declared, referring to a parallel administration set up by the fallen. elected lawmakers.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, paralyzed by protests and instability that escalated after the military’s deadly crackdown on its opponents, whom it calls “terrorists.” Security forces have killed at least 1,303 people, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), a human rights group that documents killings by the country’s security forces.
At least 354 coup opponents were also sentenced to prison or death terms, according to the AAPP, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s aide, Win Htein, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. in October.
Amnesty International’s Ming Yu Hah said that Aung San Suu Kyi’s conviction on Monday for “false accusations is the latest example of the military’s determination to eliminate all opposition and stifle freedoms in Myanmar.”
“The ridiculous and corrupt decision of the court is part of a devastating pattern of arbitrary punishments that has left more than 1,300 dead and thousands of arrests since the military coup in February,” she said, calling for swift, decisive and unified action by the international community. .
“The international community must step up its efforts to protect civilians and hold perpetrators of serious violations to account, and ensure that humanitarian and health assistance is urgently provided,” she said.