May 19, 2024
The deposed leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, and her Australian adviser were sentenced to three more years in prison for violating the Official Secrets Act.

The deposed leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, and her Australian adviser were sentenced to three more years in prison for violating the Official Secrets Act.

The new sentence is on top of the already 20-plus years in prison doled out during her last sentence, mainly on corruption charges, since her overthrow in a military coup in February 2021. Violations of the Official Secrets Act carry a 14-year maximum sentence, meaning Suu Kyi and her adviser were not charged to the maximum extent of the law, according to the BBC.

Western governments and human rights groups have condemned all the charges as trumped up and politically motivated and called for her immediate release. The Australian government has consistently advocated the release of her Australian adviser, professor Sean Turnell, since his imprisonment last year. Turnell was also convicted on a charge of breaching an immigration law, landing him another three years in prison.

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“The Australian Government has consistently rejected the charges against Professor Turnell during the more than 19 months he had been unjustly detained by the Myanmar military regime,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said. “We will continue to take every opportunity to advocate strongly for Professor Turnell until he has returned to his family in Australia.”

Both trials have been heavily criticized by international organizations, as they took place in a closed military court. Outside observers were not allowed to view the proceedings, according to the BBC. The details of what they’re being charged with are also not publicly known.

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Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said last month that he would be open to negotiations with Suu Kyi once her trial is over, but it’s not known when her trial will end. The country has descended into an increasingly bloody civil war since last year’s coup, with little hope of the violence subsiding anytime soon.

Suu Kyi’s trials are not finished, and if convicted on every charge, she could face up to 200 years in prison.

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