Bangkok [Thailand], December 8 (ANI): Myanmar's junta should immediately quash the verdict against Aung San Suu Kyi, who on December 6 was found guilty of inciting public unrest and breaching COVID-19 restrictions and sentenced to four years in prison, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.
"Aung San Suu Kyi's guilty verdict has been guaranteed since Myanmar's military detained her on February 1, and more baseless convictions and sentences can be expected to be piled on in the future," said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW. "The junta is using this sham court proceeding to wipe out all opposition to military dictatorship. Yet since the coup and Suu Kyi's arrest, millions have taken to the streets to protest for freedom and democracy."
"The junta should unconditionally release Aung San Suu Kyi and all others facing politically motivated charges," Adams said.
Suu Kyi, 76, who was the leader of Myanmar prior to the February military coup faces an additional 10 politically motivated charges, including for possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, corruption, and election fraud, carrying a total potential sentence of more than 100 years in prison. Ousted President Win Myint was also sentenced to four years.
The military arrested Suu Kyi, head of the then-ruling National League for Democracy party, along with other senior officials in the capital, Naypyidaw, on February 1, as it nullified the results of the November 2020 democratic elections.
She did not appear in person in court until May 24. Her trial began on June 14. The special court in Naypyidaw remained closed to all journalists and observers, and her legal team has been barred from speaking on the case.
Myanmar's security forces have killed over 1,200 people since the coup, arrested more than 7,500, and tortured and raped detainees, according to HRW. The junta's widespread and systematic abuses amount to the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other sexual violence, severe deprivation of liberty, and other inhumane acts causing great suffering.
The junta has detained thousands of protesters, activists, journalists, and others on charges that are similarly unjust as those against Aung San Suu Kyi, HRW said.
The rights group said the verdict against her should remind foreign governments of the need to adopt urgent measures to press for the release of everyone arbitrarily detained and to bring the junta's leadership to justice. (ANI)