Myanmar's deposed civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been sentenced to an additional four years in prison. She was found guilty of buying and possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies and signal jammers. The sentence handed down Monday is the second verdict made by a Myanmar court against the Nobel prize winner.
The latest sentence includes two years in prison for violating the country's importation laws by purchasing the unlicensed walkie-talkies. She was also hit with an additional one-year prison sentence for breaking Myanmar's communications law by using the unlicensed communications equipment.
Suu Kyi was previously sentenced to four years in jail after being found guilty of instigating violence and two years after being found guilty of breaking section 25 of the Disaster Management Law by a Zabuthiri Court in the capital Naypyidaw.
The military later lowered the four-year punishment to two years. The military also lowered Myanmar's ousted President Win Myint's four-year jail term.
The 76-year-old former state counselor and de facto leader were removed from her position through a military coup more than 11 months ago. She was arrested and hit with close to a dozen charges, including corruption, violating COVID-19 restrictions, incitement, and breaking the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.
The country has been in upheaval since the coup against Suu Kyi's democratically elected administration sparked huge demonstrations and worldwide concerns over the end of the country's fragile political reforms after decades of military control.
The charges against Suu Kyi carry a combined prison sentence of more than 100 years. Suu Kyi has denied all of the charges made against her. Her supporters have claimed that the case against Suu Kyi is politically driven.
Myanmar's military regime has worked to limit public access to information about the cases and their proceedings. An injunction prohibiting Suu Kyi's legal team from interacting with the media was issued in October.
The military's handling of Suu Kyi's case has caught the international community and human rights group's attention. The deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, called the secret proceedings a "circus" based on "bogus charges" aimed at putting Suu Kyi behind bars for as long as possible.
Robertson said that even behind bars, Suu Kyi remains to be a political threat against General Ming Aung Hlaing and the junta. He added that the junta was willing to hold a kangaroo court and become a "global laughingstock" to keep her in prison.
Junta leaders claimed that Suu Kyi is being granted due process by an independent court chaired by a judge nominated by her own administration. It's unclear where Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest for years under a previous military regime, is being held.