A Burmese court on Thursday sentenced the country’s former ‘de facto’ leader Aung San Suu Kyi to another three years in prison in a case brought against her for violating the Official Secrets Act.
Sources close to the case have indicated that along with her, three former ministers and Australian economist Sean Turnell, accused of having had access to secret financial information when he was an advisor to Suu Kyi, have also been sentenced.
The defendants have been convicted under the legislation, which criminalizes the possession or dissemination of state information that “could be used directly or indirectly by an enemy”, according to reports in ‘The Irrawaddy’ newspaper.
All of them have stressed their innocence, while the Australian government has rejected the conviction against Turnell and demanded his “immediate release”. The Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, has indicated that the “diplomatic workers have made every effort to attend the trial, but have been denied access”.
Suu Kyi, meanwhile, was already sentenced in January to four years in prison for allegedly possessing illegally imported walkie-talkies, a sentence that came on top of the two-year jail term previously imposed against her for violating restrictions imposed because of the pandemic during her 2020 election campaign, in line with the Natural Disaster Management Act.
MPs from her formation, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were sworn in despite the February 2021 coup in an informal ceremony and re-elected Suu Kyi to a second term despite the fact that she had been detained along with other high-ranking officials, including the country’s then president, Win Myint.
The coup was followed by a harsh crackdown on opponents, activists and protesters that has so far resulted in some 2,324 deaths and more than 15,500 detainees, according to data released by the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP). So far, 3,121 people have been released.