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Reactions to Myanmar’s four-year jail term for Aung San Suu Kyi

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced on Monday to four years in prison on charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions in a case her supporters called politically motivated.

President Win Myint was also sentenced to four years as the court handed down its first verdicts against the civilian leaders detained after a military coup on Feb. 1.

Here are reactions to news of the judgment:

MATTHEW SMITH, CO-FOUNDER OF FORTIFY RIGHTS:

“This conviction is fooling no one, and it’s part of a widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population.

“This conviction is part of imprisonment as a crime against humanity perpetrated by the junta since February 1.

“The junta should release the state counsellor and all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.”

MAW HTUN AUNG, A DEPUTY MINISTER OF MYANMAR’S EXILED OPPOSITION NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT:

“I don’t expect anything out of this broken justice system.”

ASEAN PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:

“Since the day of the coup, it’s been clear that the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, and the dozens of other detained MPs, have been nothing more than an excuse by the junta to justify their illegal power grab.

“Despite this most recent attempt to demonstrate their power, the Myanmar people continue to risk their lives every day to show that this ridiculous ruling is a travesty of justice.

“This sentencing is further evidence that, for the sake of its own credibility and future, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) must hold the line against this illegal takeover.

“We continue our call for ASEAN to ban all junta representatives from its meetings, prevent junta generals from travelling in the region, and to engage with the duly-elected National Unity Government.”

MING YU HAH, DEPUTY REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF CAMPAIGNS FOR RIGHTS GROUP AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:  

  “The harsh sentences handed down to Aung San Suu Kyi on these bogus charges are the latest example of the military’s determination to eliminate all opposition and suffocate freedoms in Myanmar.

“The court’s farcical and corrupt decision is part of a devastating pattern of arbitrary punishment that has seen more than 1,300 people killed and thousands arrested since the military coup in February.

“There are many detainees without the profile of Aung San Suu Kyi who currently face the terrifying prospect of years behind bars simply for peacefully exercising their human rights. They must not be forgotten and left to their fate.”

AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN THANT MYINT U:

“Removing Aung San Suu Kyi from politics isn’t a by-product of the coup, it was the entire reason for the coup.

“Many in the current generation of generals had come to feel that the reformist ex-generals of 10 years ago had gone too far in their political liberalisations and had made a specific mistake in allowing her back on the political scene.

“She remains far and away the most popular (figure) in Myanmar politics and may still be a potent force in what’s to come.”

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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