Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was convicted Monday and sentenced to four years in prison for possessing walkie-talkies in her home and for violating Covid-19 protocols.
Altogether, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, has been sentenced to a total of six years in prison so far, with many more charges pending against her.
Monday’s guilty verdict on three counts comes on top of her Dec. 5 conviction on charges of inciting public unrest and a separate count of breaching Covid-19 protocols. Initially sentenced to four years on those charges, that sentence was cut in half by the army commander in chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the Feb. 1 coup that forced her from office.
As the first anniversary of the coup approaches, the court found Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of violating Myanmar’s import-export law and its telecommunications law by possessing the communication devices. Her defenders have said the walkie-talkies belonged to her security detail, and that the charges were bogus and politically motivated.
She was sentenced to two years on the Covid protocol, two years on the charge of importing the walkie-talkies, and to one year for violating the telecommunications law. The sentences connected to the walkie-talkie charges are to run concurrently.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been held incommunicado in a house in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. Amnesty International called the walkie-talkie charges trumped up, saying “they suggest the military is desperate for a pretext to embark on a witch-hunt and intimidate anyone who challenges them.”
The charge of importing the devices — the first of many charges brought against her — was filed on Feb. 3, two days after the coup, and the court proceedings have lasted nearly a year.
The guilty verdict for violating Covid protocols stemmed from an episode during the 2020 election campaign in which she stood outside, in a face mask and face shield, with her dog, Taichito, at her side, and waved to supporters passing by in vehicles. The same incident was the basis of her conviction on a nearly identical charge in December.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi faces at least seven more charges — including five counts of corruption — with a potential maximum sentence of 89 years if she were to be found guilty on all remaining charges.
Human Rights Watch said the military regime was making itself appear ridiculous by accumulating convictions on flimsy, politically motivated charges.
“The Myanmar junta’s courtroom circus of secret proceedings on bogus charges is all about steadily piling up more convictions against Aung San Suu Kyi so that she will remain in prison indefinitely,” said Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy Asia director.
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was the Nobel Peace Laureate in 1991 and led her party, the National League for Democracy, to landslide victories three times between 1990 and 2020, but the military allowed her to form a government only once, in 2016.