According to AP, Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar who was ousted in a de facto coup this year, was convicted on two charges Monday and handed a four-year sentence that was quickly cut in half — in proceedings widely criticized as a further effort by the country’s military rulers to roll back the democratic gains of recent years.
They serve to cement a dramatic reversal of fortunes for the Nobel Peace laureate, who spent 15 years under house arrest for resisting the Southeast Asian nation’s generals but then agreed to work alongside them when they promised to usher in democratic rule.
Monday’s verdict was the first in a series of cases brought against 76-year-old Suu Kyi since her arrest on Feb. 1, the day the army seized power and prevented her National League for Democracy party starting a second term in office.
If found guilty of all the charges she faces, Suu Kyi could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. She is being held by the military at an unknown location — and state television reported that she would serve her sentence there. That sentence was reduced hours after it was handed down in what the report said was an amnesty ordered by the country’s military leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
The court earlier offered a 10-month reduction in the sentence for time served, according to a legal official, who relayed the verdict to The Associated Press and who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities. The state TV report did not mention any credit for time served.
The army seized power claiming massive voting fraud in the November 2020 election, which Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide. Independent election observers did not detect any major irregularities.
Opposition to the takeover sprang up almost immediately and remains strong, with armed resistance spreading after the military’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests. Monday’s verdicts could inflame tensions even further.
The cases against Suu Kyi are widely seen as contrived to discredit her and keep her from running in the next election.