Myanmar's Suu Kyi sentenced for 4 More Years in Prison

BANGKOK (AP), -- A Myanmar court sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional four years imprisonment on Monday. She was found guilty of illegally importing, possessing and using walkie-talkies. Also, she violated coronavirus restrictions.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi sentenced for 4 More Years in Prison

Suu Kyi was convicted of two other charges last month and sentenced to a four year prison term, which was then reduced by the head the military-installed administration.

These cases are just a few of the many brought against the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 76, since February when the army overthrew her elected government and arrested top members from her National League for Democracy party.

She could face a sentence of more than 100 years imprisonment if she is found guilty of all charges.

Suu Kyi's supporters, and independent analysts, claim that the charges against her were concocted to legitimize the military taking power and stop her from returning to politics.

Monday's verdict at Naypyitaw's capital court was transmitted by a legal representative who requested anonymity out of fear of being penalized by authorities who have limited the release of information on Suu Kyi's trials.

She was sentenced to two-years in prison for importing walkie-talkies, and one-year for possessing them under the Telecommunications Law. Both sentences will be served simultaneously. A two-year sentence was also issued under the Natural Disaster Management Law. She was alleged to have violated coronavirus rules while campaigning.

Suu Kyi was sentenced to four-years imprisonment last month for two other charges, incitement and violating COVID-19 restrictions. Minutes after Suu Kyi was sentenced, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing (head of military-installed government) reduced the sentence by half.

Suu Kyi's party won an overwhelming victory in 2020's general election. However, the military claimed widespread electoral fraud. Independent poll watchers are skeptical of this assertion.

Suu Kyi, who was convicted of the first offense, has been wearing prison clothes to court hearings since then. The authorities provided a brown longyi skirt and a white top. The military is holding her at an unspecified location. State television reported last month that she would be serving her sentence.

The media are not allowed to attend the hearings. Neither spectators nor the prosecutors can comment. In October, gag orders were issued to her lawyers who had been an information source on the proceedings.

Since it took power, the military-installed government has refused to allow any outside party to meet Suu Kyi. This is despite international pressure to include her in talks that could help ease the country's political crisis.

It refused to allow an envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (of which Myanmar is a member), to meet her. Min Aung Hlaing was barred from attending the annual summit meeting due to her refusal.

Even Hun Sen, the Cambodian Prime Minister, was unable to meet her when he visited Myanmar last week as the first head of government since the army took control.

Nonviolent, nationwide protests quickly repelled the military's takeover of power. Security forces responded with deadly force and killed more than 1,400 civilians according to an extensive list prepared by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

While peaceful protests continue, an armed resistance has grown amid the harsh crackdown. To the point where U.N experts warned that the country could be heading for civil war, U.N. experts warn.

"The Myanmar junta is putting Aung San Suu Kyi in prison by making more bogus charges in secret courtrooms. "Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, and the junta leaders clearly still see her as a major political threat who must be permanently neutralized," Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

Robertson stated in a statement that Aung San Suu Kyi had become a symbol of the current state of her country. She then returned to her role as political hostage to military leaders bent on securing power through intimidation and violence. "Fortunately for her, and the future Myanmar, the Myanmar people’s movement has grown far beyond the leadership of just one woman and one political party.

Suu Kyi was arrested shortly after the military tookover for having improperly imported walkie-talkies. This served as her initial justification for being held on continued. The following month, a second charge was brought against Suu Kyi for illegally possessing radios.

During a search of her home's entrance and the barracks belonging to her bodyguards, the radios were taken.

Suu Kyi's lawyers claimed that the radios weren't in her possession and were legally used to provide her security. However, the court refused to dismiss the charges.

Two counts were filed against her for violating coronavirus restrictions while she was campaigning for the 2020 elections. The first count was a guilty verdict.

The same court is also trying her on five other counts of corruption. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a fine. The sixth corruption case against her, which was brought against President Win Myint for granting permits to rent or buy a helicopter, has yet to be tried.

Separately, she is charged with violating the Official Secrets Act. This law carries a maximum sentence ranging from 14 years to life.

Myanmar's election commission added additional charges against Suu Kyi, 15 politicians and others in November for fraud in the 2020 elections. The military-appointed Union Election Commission may result in Suu Kyi’s party being disbanded and inability to participate in the new elections promised by the military.

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