Burma: New prison sentences for Aung San Suu Kyi and a Japanese journalist

Burma: New prison sentences for Aung San Suu Kyi and a Japanese journalist

Another black day in Burma as the intransigent junta on Thursday sentenced former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Japanese journalist Toru Kubota to additional prison terms on two separate counts.

The 77-year-old 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner was sentenced to “two three-year prison terms” that were combined, a source familiar with the matter told AFP.

She was found guilty of accepting a $550,000 bribe from a local businessman, Maung Weik, in another part of her riverside trial that has been denounced as political by the international community.

Aung San Suu Kyi “is in good health. Her lawyers will appeal as in the other cases,” the source explained.

She had previously been sentenced to 23 years in prison on various counts, including electoral fraud and corruption. She faces five other corruption charges.

Toru Kubota, 26, who was arrested in late July while covering an anti-junta protest in Yangon, was later sentenced to three years in prison for violating immigration law, a Japanese diplomatic source told AFP.

– “simulacre” –

The videographer, who the source said appeared healthy at his trial, citing his lawyer, was sentenced last week to two prison terms totaling 10 years for disseminating information harmful to the country’s security and for inciting dissent against the ruling army.

Those sentences were combined, reducing the expected length of his sentence to seven years on those two counts, a junta spokesman said.

These two convictions worsen the record of the Burmese junta, which has been criticized by the international community since the country plunged into civil war after the February 1, 2021 military coup.

Arrested at the time of the coup that ended a decade of democratic transition in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi was placed in solitary confinement in a prison in Naypyidaw in late June, from where her trial began more than a year ago. continues behind closed doors.

Many voices denounced a judicial harassment, based on political motives, with the aim of finally sacking the daughter of the independence hero, the big winner of the 2015 and 2020 elections.

Several of his relatives were sentenced to severe penalties. A former member of his party, Phyo Zeya Thaw, who was sentenced to death, was executed at the end of July.

“These sham trials against her and her allies, despite the legal guise, cannot be taken seriously,” an Amnesty International spokesman told AFP.

– no expulsion “for now” from Kubota –

“The Myanmar military is piling false allegations upon false allegations against Aung San Suu Kyi as part of a broader campaign to jail and silence all opponents,” the human rights NGO continued.

The junta has denied these allegations, even promising to start negotiations with Aung San Suu Kyi once her trial is complete.

According to a local NGO count, more than 2,300 civilians have been killed by security forces since the coup that plunged the country into a bloody conflict. The junta, which is prosecuting its opponents, has more than 3,900.

Kubota is the fifth foreign journalist to be arrested by the junta since the February 1, 2021 military coup, after Americans Danny Fenster and Nathan Maung, Poland’s Robert Bociaga and Japanese Yuki Kitazumi, who were all eventually released and deported.

Before the verdict was announced, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP that Kubota “will not be deported at this time,” without giving details.

Reference: www.guadeloupe.franceantilles.fr

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