Wednesday, June 29, 2022|
Share this story
BANGKOK — 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.
The verdict — on charges of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions — serves 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.
The case is only the first in a series brought against the 76-year-old Suu Kyi since her arrest on Feb. 1 — the day the army seized power, claiming massive voting fraud in last year’s election. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won that vote in a landslide, and independent election observers did not detect any major irregularities.
Just as the takeover has been met with fierce resistance, so too was the verdict, including a spirited protest in the central city of Mandalay, where demonstrators chanted slogans and sang songs popularized during pro-democracy protests in 1988.
They also took to social media, which has been an important arena for resistance to the military. Htoo Ko, a medical doctor and popular travel blogger who is also an activist, wrote: “They have expended their maximum effort in carrying out evil. The people will be free only if we win the revolution, so work harder for the revolution.”
The cases against Suu Kyi are widely seen as contrived to discredit her and keep her from running in the next election — and many in the international community decried Monday’s verdict as a farce.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *