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Myanmar’s Suu Kyi gets four more years in prison

Myanmar's then-leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at a business forum on the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore, on November 12, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to four more years in prison, after a military court convicted her of three criminal charges.

Suu Kyi has been detained since February, when her government was forced out in a military coup. She has been held incommunicado in a house in the capital, Naypyidaw.

The junta court on Monday found the 76-year-old leader guilty of two charges related to illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions, according to a legal official.

She has been sentenced to a total of six years in prison so far, with many more charges pending against her.

Junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun confirmed the verdicts and sentences. He told the AFP that Suu Kyi would remain under house arrest while other cases against her proceeded.

The United States condemned what it called the "unjust arrest, conviction and sentencing" of Suu Kyi, which it said was carried out in "an affront to justice and the rule of law."

"We call on the regime to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained, including other democratically elected leaders," said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

The Monday sentence added to the penalties the court handed down in December, when Suu Kyi was jailed for four years for incitement and breaching coronavirus rules while campaigning. Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing cut the sentence to two years back then, saying she could serve her term under house arrest in Naypyidaw.

The total six-year jail term would mean Myanmar's former leader would not be able to participate in the fresh elections that the military authorities have pledged to hold next year.

Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson condemned Suu Kyi's new convictions, saying it "is all about steadily piling up more convictions against Aung San Suu Kyi so that she will remain in prison indefinitely."

The coup last year triggered widespread demonstrations, which security forces quashed with deadly force. The severe crackdown against protesters has so far killed over 1,400 people in the country, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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