Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi granted partial pardon

Former leader receives a pardon in five of the 19 cases against her and will remain under house arrest, media reports say.

Demonstrators hold a portrait of detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi
Demonstrators hold a portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi while flashing the three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, during an anti-military protest at Hledan junction in Yangon, Myanmar, February 8, 2021 [File: EPA/EFE]

Myanmar’s ruling military has granted partial clemency to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, pardoning the Nobel laureate in five of the 19 offences for which she was convicted and jailed for a total of 33 years following a coup two years ago, according to media reports.

The pardons, announced on state media on Tuesday, were part of an amnesty granted to more than 7,000 prisoners to mark Buddhist Lent.

The former leader, who was reportedly moved last week from prison to house arrest in the capital, Naypyidaw, has been in detention since the military toppled her government and seized power in a coup in February 2021.

She is appealing the convictions for the 19 offences, which range from incitement and election fraud to corruption.

She denied all of the charges.

An informed source told the Reuters news agency that despite the pardons, Aung San Suu Kyi would remain in detention.

“She won’t be free from house arrest,” said the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The AFP news agency, meanwhile, said the 78-year-old politician still faces 14 other cases.

“She couldn’t be freed completely although some sentences against her were pardoned. She still has to face 14 cases. Only five cases out of 19 were pardoned,” a legal source was quoted as saying.

Former President Win Myint also had his sentences reduced as part of the amnesty, according to The Associated Press news agency.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero Aung San and was first put under house arrest in 1989 after huge protests against decades of military rule.

In 1991, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy but was fully released from house arrest in 2010. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) swept the 2015 elections, held as part of tentative military reforms.

It went on to win the next elections in November 2020 by a landslide, but the military alleged fraud and said it had to seize power to investigate the complaints.

The coup plunged Myanmar into chaos, with security forces using lethal force against peaceful protesters and spawning an armed struggle against their rule. More than 3,800 people have been killed in the crackdown, according to a local monitoring group.

Fighting between the military and civilian militias has also displaced more than 1.6 million people across the country.

Source: News Agencies