Burmese Suu Kyi sentenced to three years for electoral fraud: source

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Yangon (AFP) – A Myanmar junta court on Friday sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to three years in prison for voter fraud in the 2020 election her party won landslide.

Suu Kyi was “sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour”, a source familiar with the case said, adding that the Nobel laureate, 77, appeared to be in good health.

Detained since a putsch last year, Suu Kyi has already been convicted of corruption and several other charges by a closed court of the junta and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Journalists were barred from proceedings in the military capital Naypyidaw and his lawyers were barred from speaking to the press.

The military has alleged widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election, which was won resoundingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), although international observers said the poll was largely free and fair.

The military has since overturned the result and said it had uncovered more than 11 million cases of voter fraud.

Last month, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said the military was “soft” on Suu Kyi and could have taken “more serious action” against her.

Myanmar was plunged into crisis following the army’s takeover last year, with swathes of the country ravaged by fighting and the economy in freefall.

More than 2,200 people have been killed and more than 15,000 arrested in the army’s crackdown on dissent since it took power, according to a local watchdog group.

‘Peaceful and stable’

The junta declared a state of emergency after overthrowing Suu Kyi’s government, and previously said elections would be held and the state of emergency lifted by August 2023.

In a speech broadcast last month, Min Aung Hlaing did not mention a date for new polls but said they could only be held when the country was “peaceful and stable”.

He also said “reform” of the electoral system was needed, including combining the first-past-the-post system – under which Suu Kyi’s NLD won landslide majorities – with proportional representation.

Last month, the junta-appointed Union Electoral Commission said the country’s 92 registered political parties would have to apply for permission if they wanted to meet with foreign organizations or individuals.

“Political parties must respect the law,” the commission said.

“If they don’t, their party’s registration will be dissolved.”

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