Burma: resistance escalates as Suu Kyi sentenced

burma protest

Ousted Burmese state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, was found guilty Dec. 6 of “incitement” and breaking COVID restrictions—but the first of a series of 11 charges that could see her imprisoned for life, with potential combined terms of up to 100 years. For these initial two charges, she was given a four-year sentence; junta chief Min Aung Hlaing ordered it reduced it to two years. Deposed president Win Myint, 69, convicted on the same charges, also had his sentence commuted from four years to two. They will each be able to serve the two years at their undisclosed “current place of detention,” where they have been held since the February coup d’etat. (BBC News, Myanmar Now, The Irrawady)

Despite harsh repression, protests continue against the junta—now usually organized through social media as “flash mobs.” On Dec. 5, a military truck rammed into a crowd of protesters at Kyimyindaing township in Yangon. Soldiers then opened fire on the fleeing protesters, and beat the injured who had fallen to the ground with their rifle butts. At least five were killed and several injured. Troops also reportedly aimed their rifles at people watching from their apartments. Video footage shows marchers holding a large banner reading “FREEDOM FROM FEAR” moments before the truck ploughs through their ranks from behind. The incident was condemned by the UN resident coordinator in Burma.

Since February’s coup, more than 1,200 people have been killed during protests and thousands more imprisoned. (BBC News, NYT, Myanmar Now, Jurist)

The armed resistance network known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF) has meanwhile carved out a liberated zone in the northern Irrawaddy plains. Thousands of locals have fled their homes amid attacks by junta soldiers as part of Operation Anawrahta, a military campaign aimed at crushing the armed resistance in Chin state and Sagaing and Magway regions. (See map) (Myanmar Now)

Photo: Myanmar Now

  1. Suu Kyi sentenced to four more years in prison

    A court in Naypyitaw sentenced ousted Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison on Jan. 10 for possessing “illegally imported” walkie-talkies and violating Covid-19 restrictions, court sources said. Suu Kyi was handed two years under the Export-Import Law and one year under the Telecommunications Law, both charges relating to the walkie-talkies seized during a pre-dawn raid on her home as the military coup unfolded last February. Those sentences will be served concurrently.

    Suu Kyi, 76, also received a two-year sentence under the Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly violating Covid-19 rules during her 2020 election campaign.

    The deposed State Counsellor received a four-year prison term in early December for incitement and a separate violation of Covid-19 restrictions during the election. The junta deducted two years from her sentence later the same day. (Myanmar Now)