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Aung San Suu Kyi found guilty over walkie-talkie charges

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(Al Jazeera) A military-run court in Myanmar has found civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was overthrown in last February’s coup, guilty on at least three charges and sentenced her to four more years in prison.

The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was detained as the military seized control of the country nearly a year ago and has been slapped with nearly a dozen charges that critics say are politically motivated.

She was sentenced to two years for the possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies, and two years for breaching coronavirus curbs, legal sources said.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who denies all charges, is on trial in a closed court and could be sentenced to a total of more than 100 years in prison if she is found guilty on all the counts against her. Her lawyers were ordered not to talk about her case last October.

She was convicted last month on “incitement” and breaching COVID-19 protocols and given a four-year prison sentence, which a few hours later was halved by coup leader Min Aung Hlaing in what was portrayed as a pardon.

In December, state television reported that sentence would be applied at Aung San Suu Kyi’s “current detention” place. It is not clear where is being held and whether the same approach would be taken in Monday’s case.

Rights group Amnesty International said on Twitter on Monday the new convictions were “the latest act in the farcical trial against the civilian leader”.

It called for her release along with thousands of others “unjustly detained” since the coup.

“The Myanmar junta’s courtroom circus of secret proceedings on bogus charges is all about steadily piling up more convictions … so that she will remain in prison indefinitely,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The conviction came after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Myanmar and met Min Aung Hlaing in a visit that was heavily criticised by people inside Myanmar, as well as by civil society groups.

Hun Sen, who this year took over from Brunei as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), did not meet Aung San Suu Kyi and there was no mention of her in the joint statement that he released with coup leader Min Aung Hlaing following the visit on Sunday.

A previous ASEAN special envoy cancelled his visit to Myanmar after the generals refused to allow him to meet her, leading the group to bar Min Aung Hlaing from attending its annual summit meeting last year.

The generals have also been under fire from ASEAN over their refusal to follow a Five Point Consensus agreed in April last year to resolve the country’s violent political crisis, but there are concerns that Hun Sen, who wields almost unfettered power in Cambodia, will take an easier line.

Aung San Suu Kyi spent years under house arrest under Myanmar’s previous military regimes.

The military-drafted constitution that laid down the conditions for the country’s democratic reforms excluded her from the presidency because she married a UK citizen and her two children are British.

Min Aung Hlaing has sought to justify his coup by claiming fraud in the November 2020 elections the returned Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party to power in a landslide. The elections commission said there was no evidence of wrongdoing in the poll.

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