Critics say all charges are fabricated and politically motivated as former state counselor is jailed for five years
A protester holds a poster of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 2, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
The international community has slammed the five-year jail term imposed by the Myanmar junta on Aung San Suu Kyi over corruption charges.
The former state counselor was convicted of corruption on April 27 in the first of 11 graft cases against her.
The Nobel laureate has been charged with at least 17 offenses which can put her behind bars for the rest of her life if found guilty. Critics say all the charges are fabricated and politically motivated.
The European Union said the proceedings are “a clear attempt to exclude democratically elected leaders, including Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, from the inclusive dialogue process” called for by ASEAN’s five-point consensus drawn up in April 2021.
“It represents another step towards the dismantling of the rule of law and a further blatant violation of human rights in Myanmar and yet another major setback for democracy in Myanmar since the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021,” an EU spokesperson said.
The French government has termed the arbitrary court proceedings an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democratically elected leaders in total to the expressed will of the Myanmar people.
“The days of Aung San Suu Kyi as a free woman are effectively over. Destroying popular democracy in Myanmar also means getting rid of Suu Kyi, and the junta is leaving nothing to chance"
“As France and its EU partners have consistently emphasized, this crisis can be resolved only through a political dialogue that includes all stakeholders, and first and foremost the democratic opposition forces,” it said.
“The days of Aung San Suu Kyi as a free woman are effectively over. Destroying popular democracy in Myanmar also means getting rid of Suu Kyi, and the junta is leaving nothing to chance,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.
Tom Andrews, UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, said the sentencing of Suu Kyi is “as outrageous as the continued detention of over 13,000 political prisoners.”
“The junta passes these ‘verdicts’ in the theater of the absurd it calls ‘courts’ because it wants what brutality and weapons cannot deliver — legitimacy,” Andrews said on Twitter.
Nearly 1,800 people, including many children, have been killed and more than 13,000 detained as political prisoners by security forces since the coup.
Suu Kyi has been detained in undisclosed locations near remote capital Naypyitaw since the coup. Her trials have been held in a building converted into a courtroom. The media have been denied access to her court hearings.
Known locally as 'The Lady,' Suu Kyi became an international icon due to her championing of freedom, justice and democracy
The former pro-democracy leader was earlier jailed for six years for possessing walkie-talkies, breaching Covid-19 rules and inciting public unrest.
She had been under house arrest for two decades under the previous military regime which seized power in 1988. Known locally as "The Lady," Suu Kyi became an international icon due to her championing of freedom, justice and democracy.
The Nobel peace laureate, however, tarnished her image on the global stage following her defense at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
More than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh due to a brutal crackdown by the military in August 2017 in what Washington labeled “genocide.”
Four years after the Rohingya crisis, the same military under the command of General Min Aung Hlaing has been committing rights abuses in ethnic areas as well as villages in the Bamar heartland — burning homes, killing civilians, making arbitrary arrests and carrying out torture.
The UN Human Rights office and rights groups said the acts of the junta amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity and called on the UN Security Council to refer the matter to international justice mechanisms such as the ICJ.
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