Suu Kyi of Myanmar jailed with hard labor for election fraud

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(Reuters) – Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted on Friday of election fraud and sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.

The Nobel laureate and Myanmar opposition leader has been detained for decades under military rule since a coup early last year and has already been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. It denies all allegations against it.

On Friday, she was convicted of fraud in the November 2020 general election that the National League for Democracy won by an overwhelming legislative majority, defeating a party set up by the powerful military.

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The source, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said that this is the first time that the hard labor sentence has been applied to Suu Kyi’s sentence and it was not clear what it would entail.

The source said that defendant Win Myint, the ousted president, was sentenced to the same punishment.

A spokesman for the ruling military council did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The junta said Suu Kyi, 77, will be given due process.

Former prisoners told Reuters of harsh conditions in some Myanmar prisons, and in recent years there have been media reports of shackles and hard labor in quarries in some facilities.

Myanmar State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, attends the Myanmar Investment Conference in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File photo

However, an official with the Association to Aid Political Prisoners, an activist group that tracks detentions, said he did not expect high-profile political prisoners like Suu Kyi to be subjected to hard labor, not least because it would mean fraternizing with other prisoners.

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He also said that laws covering Myanmar’s prisons stipulate that elderly people or people in poor health should avoid such work.

The military seized power in February 2021 to prevent Suu Kyi’s NLD from forming a new government after elections which it said contained cases of fraud that had not been properly investigated.

The NLD denied the fraud and said it had won fairly.

Suu Kyi has been on trial for more than a year on multiple charges, ranging from corruption and sedition to leaking official secrets, for which the combined maximum sentence exceeded 190 years.

Her trials were held behind closed doors in the capital, Naypyitaw, and the junta’s statements about the proceedings were limited. A gag order has been placed on Suu Kyi’s lawyer.

In June, Myanmar military authorities moved from an unknown location to solitary confinement in a prison in the capital, Naypyitaw.

In response to a request by a visiting UN official calling for Suu Kyi to be allowed to return home, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said last month that he would consider moving her to house arrest but only after all verdicts in her cases had been passed. receipt. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters staff. Writing by Martin Petty / Ed Davies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Percell and Nick McPhee

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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