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Reactions to conviction, sentencing of Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

·4 min read
FILE PHOTO: Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague

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

She was orginally sentenced to four years in prison but the military junta leader reduced it two years' detention in her current location, state TV reported.

President Win Myint was also sentenced to four years, also later reduced to two, after the court recorded its first verdicts against the civilian leaders detained after a military coup on Feb. 1

Here are some reactions:

U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS MICHELLE BACHELET:

"The conviction of the State Counsellor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically-motivated. It is not only about arbitrary denial of her freedom – it closes yet another door to political dialogue."

"The military is attempting to instrumentalize the courts to remove all political opposition. But these cases cannot provide a legal veneer to the illegitimacy of the coup and military rule."

"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."

DR SASA, SPOKESPERSON FOR MYANMAR'S EXILED CIVILIAN SHADOW ADMINISTRATION, THE NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT:

"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."

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY LIZ TRUSS:

"The sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is another appalling attempt by Myanmar's military regime to stifle opposition and suppress freedom and democracy.

"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."

ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON, BEIJING:

"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."

JOSEP BORRELL, EUROPEAN UNION DIPLOMAT

"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."

"The European Union reiterates its urgent calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners as well as all those arbitrarily detained since the coup."

RICHARD HORSEY, MYANMAR ANALYST, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP:

"The charges were ludicrous, designed as retribution against popular leaders. So the guilty verdicts and prison terms are no surprise.

"No one other than the regime itself will be convinced by this outcome."

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.

"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 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."

JAPAN FOREIGN MINISTRY:

"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."

(Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Nick Macfie and Angus MacSwan)

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