The Burmese military regime that seized power in a coup d'état on February 1, 2021 launched a further assault on the country’s democratically elected leaders and democratic institutions and escalated its brutal repression of the people of Burma.
On December 6, a court sentenced former State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint to four years in prison for allegedly inciting public unrest and breaking COVID-19 protocols. Although the military regime reduced the sentences to two years, Aung San Suu Kyi and other former democratically elected officials still face multiple trumped-up charges that could lead to decades in prison.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi and the repression of other democratically elected officials “further affronts to democracy and justice in Burma. The regime’s continued disregard for the rule of law and its widespread use of violence against the Burmese people underscore the urgency of restoring Burma’s path to democracy.”
Many in the international community also denounced the decision by the Burmese court.
Amnesty International called it “farcical and corrupt.” Human Rights Watch called it “baseless.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, “The conviction of the State Counsellor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically motivated.”
The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell declared the sentencing represents “another step towards the dismantling of the rule of law and a further blatant violation of human rights in Myanmar [Burma].”
Since the February 1 military coup, the regime has incessantly and violently attacked the rights of the people of Burma. Security forces have unleashed lethal force against peaceful protesters. The regime is responsible for the killings of more than 1,300 people and has imprisoned more than 10,000 others.
Secretary of State Blinken urged the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained in Burma. “We reiterate our call for the regime to engage in constructive dialogue with all parties to seek a peaceful resolution in the interest of the people, as agreed to in the ASEAN Five Point Consensus,” Secretary Blinken said. “We join the people of Burma in their aspirations for freedom and democracy and call on the regime to end the use of violence, respect the will of the people, and restore Burma’s democratic transition.”