Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has received a four-year jail term on charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions in a case her supporters say is politically motivated.
President Win Myint was also sentenced to four years as the court handed down its first verdicts on Monday against the civilian leaders detained after a military coup on February 1.
Their sentences were later reduced by the military government leader to two years’ detention in their current locations, which have not been disclosed, state TV reported on Monday evening.
Here is how the world reacted to the convictions:
“The conviction of the State Counsellor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military controlled court is nothing but politically motivated,” Michelle Bachelet, UN rights chief said in a statement.
“This verdict against Aung San Suu Kyi will only deepen rejection of the coup. It will harden positions when what is needed is dialogue and a peaceful, political settlement of this crisis.”
“The European Union strongly condemns this politically motivated verdict, which constitutes another major setback for democracy in Myanmar since the military coup on 1 February 2021,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on behalf of the 27 member states.
“The military’s actions show complete contempt for the will of the people, expressed clearly in the November 2020 elections,” he said.
“It is imperative that the Myanmar military authorities allow a swift return of Myanmar to the path of democracy,” he added.
“The Burmese military regime’s unjust conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi and the repression of other democratically elected officials are yet further affronts to democracy and justice in Burma,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“We urge the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained, including other democratically elected officials.”
“I don’t expect anything out of this broken justice system.” Maw Htun Aung, deputy minister of Myanmar’s exiled opposition national unity government, said.
Dr Sasa, spokesperson for the exiled government, said, “Today is a shameful day for the rule of law, justice and accountability in Myanmar. The brutal military junta has today confirmed that they see themselves as above the law.”
“The global community must further target sanctions against the military, their personnel, the businesses they own, and any known affiliates and intermediaries,” he added.
“The sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is another appalling attempt by Myanmar’s military regime to stifle opposition and suppress freedom and democracy,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.
“The United Kingdom calls on the regime to release political prisoners, engage in dialogue and allow a return to democracy. The arbitrary detention of elected politicians only risks further unrest.”
“As a friendly neighbour, we sincerely hope that all parties in Myanmar will proceed from the long-term interests of the country, bridge their differences under the constitutional and legal framework, and continue to advance the hard-earned democratic transition suitable for Myanmar’s national conditions,” Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said.
“The verdict is an unfavourable development as members of the international community including Japan demand an early restoration of the democratic political system in Myanmar, and we are concerned,” Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.