A special court in Myanmar’s capital sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to four years in prison on Monday after finding her guilty of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions, a legal official said.
The sentencing was the first in a series of cases in which the 76-year-old Nobel laureate is being prosecuted since the army seized power on Feb 1, preventing her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in office. The verdict in another case against her is expected next week.
The ruling by the court in Naypyitaw was conveyed by a legal official who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities. Suu Kyi’s trials are closed to the media and spectators, and her lawyers, who had been the sole source of information on the proceedings, were served with gag orders in October forbidding them from releasing information.
Government officials could not immediately be reached for more details about the ruling. Special courts are a legacy of British colonial rule, appointed to hear specific cases. They are most often used for political cases.
There were protest marches on Sunday against the military government and calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other detained members of her government. An army truck deliberately sped into a march by about 30 young people in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, and at least three of the protesters may have been killed, according to unconfirmed reports.
According to a detailed tally compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners February’s seizure of power was met by nationwide nonviolent demonstrations, which security forces quashed with deadly force. They have killed about 1,300 civilians.
Each of the corruption charges has a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine.In mid-November, the military-appointed election commission announced it intended to prosecute Suu Kyi and 15 other senior political figures for alleged fraud in the last election, which could result in her party being dissolved.