New Delhi: The Government of India on Tuesday said that it was deeply concerned by Myanmar’s conviction of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and called for the rule of law and democratic processes to be upheld.
“We are disturbed at the recent verdicts. As a neighbouring democracy, India has been consistently supportive of the democratic transition in Myanmar,” The Foreign Ministry of India spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
On Monday, a special court in Myanmar’s capital jailed the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for four years for ‘incitement against the military and breaching COVID rules’, an international news agency AFP quoted a government spokesman as having said.
The sentencing was the first in a series of cases in which the 76-year-old Nobel laureate is being prosecuted since the army seized power on Feb 1, preventing her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in office.
She has since been hit with a series of charges, including violating the official secrets act, corruption and electoral fraud, and she will face decades in jail if convicted on all counts.
Suu Kyi was sentenced to two years for incitement against the military and another two years for breaching a natural disaster law relating to COVID, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun was quoted by the news agency as saying.
Former president Win Myint was also jailed for four years on the same charges, he said, but added they would not yet be taken to prison, the report added.
“They will face other charges from the places where they are staying now”, he added, referring to their detention in the capital of Naypyidaw but without giving further details.
The incitement conviction related to statements her National League for Democracy party published shortly after the coup condemning the generals’ takeover.
The COVID charge is linked to last year’s election, which the NLD won in a landslide, but the details are not clear with the government imposing a gag order on the court proceedings.
The report added that journalists have been barred from attending the special court hearings in Naypyidaw and Suu Kyi’s lawyers were recently banned from speaking to the media.
Meanwhile, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has slammed the Myanmar junta over the conviction and sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Demanding her release, Michelle Bachelet in a statement said, “The conviction of the State Counsellor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically-motivated.
Bachelet added, “It is not only about arbitrary denial of her freedom — it closes yet another door to political dialogue.”