Myanmar’s military government reduced Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentences but she still has to serve 27 years in prison

Myanmar’s then leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on January 28, 2020. (AP Photo, File) (Uncredited/)

The military government of Myanmar has reduced the prison sentences of the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a show of leniency associated with a religious holiday in the Buddhist-majority country, state media reported Tuesday.

Former President Win Myint’s sentence was also reduced as part of the clemency granted to more than 7,000 prisoners.

Suu Kyi, 78, still has to serve 27 of the 33 years to which she had been sentenced.

The head of the Burmese military council, General Min Aung Hlaing, granted the clemency order to reduce the sentences in five cases against Suu Kyi in which she had been convicted of breaching coronavirus restrictions, illegal importation and possession of walkie-talkies. and sedition, according to a report by the state channel MRTV.

Had been convicted of 19 counts which her supporters and rights groups have described as attempts to discredit her and legitimize the 2021 military coup, as well as prevent her from returning to politics.

The junta’s spokesman, Zaw Min Tun, assured for his part in an online chat group with Burmese media that the Total reduction on sentence is six years.

Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi carry a banner with her likeness in a march.  Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images / DPA
Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi carry a banner with her likeness in a march. Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images / DPA (Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images /)

The reduced sentences were announced the day after the Myanmar military extended the state of emergency it imposed when it seized power from the elected government of Suu Kyi two and a half years ago. The extension forced a postponement of the elections promised by the military when they took power.

Several of Suu Kyi’s cases are awaiting final appeals.

Min Aung Hlaing pardoned a total of 7,749 prisoners and commuted the death sentences of others to commemorate the day Buddha delivered his last sermon, according to MRTV.

The head of the army too granted amnesty to 125 foreign prisoners and 22 members of armed ethnic groups, added the television station. In addition, charges against 72 people associated with armed ethnic groups were dropped.

At first it was not clear if the released prisoners included some of the thousands of political detainees jailed for opposing the military regime.

General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military council.  (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo, File)
General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military council. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo, File) (Aung Shine Oo/)

According to the Aid Association for Political Prisoners, a rights monitoring group, 24,123 people have been detained in Myanmar since the military coup. At least 3,857 civilians have been killed by security forces in that period, according to the group.

MRTV said it was necessary to extend the state of emergency for another six months because there was still a lot of work to do to bring the country back to normal, and time was needed to prepare for an election.

The United Nations on Monday called on Myanmar to return to a democratic system.

The sentence reductions were also announced three weeks after Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai met Suu Kyi in prison. She was the first foreign visitor to have access to the former leader since she was detained. Don told the press that Suu Kyi was in good health and conveyed her willingness to participate in negotiations to resolve the crisis in the country.

Suu Kyi has not been able to give her version of the July 9 meeting, which reportedly lasted around an hour and a half. The Myanmar military confirmed the meeting had taken place, but said it had no details because it was a personal interview between the ousted leader and the Thai diplomat.

Don made the encounter public while attending a meeting in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. The organization has tried to broker an end to the violent conflict in Myanmar, which some members of the group say is destabilizing the region.

(with information from AP and EFE)

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