United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has denounced Myanmar’s junta after ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years in jail, calling for her release.
“The conviction of the State Counselor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically-motivated,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Monday.
“It is not only about arbitrary denial of her freedom – it closes yet another door to political dialogue,” she added.
Myanmar’s military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and arrested the de facto leader and her associates on February 1 over accusations of voter fraud in favor of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in elections last November, triggering mass deadly protests.
Since the coup, Suu Kyi, 76, has been hit with a string of charges, including violating the official secrets act, corruption, and electoral fraud.
On Monday, a court sentenced Suu Kyi to two years in jail for incitement against the military and a similar term for breaching coronavirus restrictions.
Later in the day, Myanmar's state TV reported that Suu Kyi is set to serve two years in detention at an undisclosed location, after the country's military chief reduced her sentence from four years through a partial pardon.
Former president Win Myint was also sentenced to four years in prison on the same charges on Monday.
Noting that Than Naing, former planning minister of Kayin State, and Nan Khin Htwe Myint, former chief minister of Kayin State, were sentenced to 90 and 75 years behind bars on corruption charges last month, the UN rights chief said “The military is attempting to instrumentalize the courts to remove all political opposition.”
“But these cases cannot provide a legal veneer to the illegitimacy of the coup and military rule,” she added.
The military takeover of power has triggered widespread international condemnation.
Myanmar was ruled by the military from 1962 until 2011, when Suu Kyi ended the junta rule.