Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi gets 4 years in prison for incitement, violating COVID-19 restrictions

I Shwe Maung is one of three officers sentenced for their role in a 2013 army crackdown. One was also convicted of desecrating the Rakhine state flag Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi gets 4…

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi gets 4 years in prison for incitement, violating COVID-19 restrictions

I Shwe Maung is one of three officers sentenced for their role in a 2013 army crackdown. One was also convicted of desecrating the Rakhine state flag

Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi gets 4 years in prison for incitement, violating COVID-19 restrictions

The Burmese government has sentenced pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in prison for violating a court order limiting freedom of expression.

The announcement was made on a state media website on Wednesday, two days after two court sessions on the case.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in a general election last November, but the government has faced international criticism for restricting the ruling party from sharing its victory openly.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been banned from serving as a member of parliament, a constitutional roadblock that prevents her from taking the highest elected office in Burma, formerly known as Myanmar.

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The 75-year-old’s lawyers, Nyan Win and Khin Maung Zaw, confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi was being held at a Yangon jail, but he declined to comment further.

Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel peace prize in 1991 for her nonviolent struggle against military rule.

Her release from house arrest at the end of 2016 raised hopes that the opposition leader would bring greater democratic change, but instead she has been barred from the presidency and remains under house arrest.

Suu Kyi was arrested after a court ordered her to carry out a series of community service hours after she received a suspended jail sentence for breaching the rules governing foreign trips while under house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial is a test of the government’s authority. Previously Suu Kyi has always been guaranteed the presumption of innocence, but the government’s charges were weakened by lawyers arguing that the former lawyer’s detention had lapsed and could be withdrawn.

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Her lawyers also suggested that the foreign leader who ordered her deportation also violated rules in the 2016 order, meaning she should have received a possible longer sentence if that charge was proven. The trial has aroused international scorn.

The court on Tuesday sentenced another former diplomat, Kyaw Zaw Oo, to four years in prison for his role in the decision to kick a man out of his home in Yangon to prevent him from talking to journalists.

Kyaw Zaw Oo is one of three officers who the government has jailed for their roles in a 2013 army crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, known for Buddhist monasteries and high-end market shops and just outside the capital, Naypyitaw.

In addition to the four-year sentence, Kyaw Zaw Oo was also convicted of desecrating the Rakhine state flag. The court said he was charged after he posted an image of the flag on Facebook that was criticised as being too resembling the national flag.

Khin Myint Zin, also a former diplomat, was sentenced to three years in prison for violating a restricted military zone law.

The first member of the group to go on trial in December was sentenced to two years in prison. All three also face additional prison sentences if found guilty of immigration violations in connection with their attempted arrest.

Myanmar’s state counsellor and the head of the ruling party, Aung San Suu Kyi, warned the trial would jeopardise recent political changes in the Southeast Asian nation.

“The credibility of democratic changes, like the handling of this particular case, is also at stake,” said Suu Kyi in her televised floor speech on Wednesday evening.

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