The US called on Myanmar’s junta to “immediately release” opposition leader and former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi after she was sentenced to yet another prison term by a military court.
Suu Kyi was sentenced on Monday to four more years in jail on charges related to COVID-19 restrictions violations and possession of “illegally imported” walkie talkies. The deposed leader was previously sentenced to two years in prison on other charges.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Suu Kyi’s arrest, detention and sentencing are “an affront to justice and the rule of law” in Myanmar, and called on the junta to release not just Suu Kyi, but all those who have been “unjustly detained, including other democratically-elected leaders.”
“The regime’s sham judicial processes to attack its political opponents, the rule of law, as well as its continued use of violence against the Burmese people only underscore the urgency of restoring Burma’s path to democracy,” he told reporters, using the US government’s preferred name and demonym for the country of Myanmar.
“The people of Burma, and we’ve seen this consistently, continue to show that they do not want to spend another day under a military dictatorship, and we’ll continue to support them,” he added.
Suu Kyi faces seven more cases. Her National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government was deposed in a military coup last year after it made strides in November 2020’s nationwide elections.
The Myanmar military’s coup was met by mass civil unrest as people protested Suu Kyi’s ouster and the restoration of military governance. The junta cracked down violently on protests as the UN has repeatedly warned the country has descended into civil war.
According to the Myanmar-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, some 1,459 people have been killed and over 8,500 demonstrators arrested in the military’s brutal crackdown.