Ruling on Suu Kyi politically motivated - GulfToday

Ruling on Suu Kyi politically motivated


The move against Suu Kyi is being seen as a step to prevent her from running in the next election.

The two-year jailing of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appears to be nothing short of a politically motivated move. Suu Kyi was found guilty of “incitement” and breaching COVID-19 safety protocol.

She was convicted of incitement and violations of a law on natural disasters in the first verdict in more than a dozen criminal cases filed against her since the Feb.1 military takeover. Suu Kyi is 76 years old. She was put in the dock by the generals who overthrew her elected government in a coup that snipped democratic reforms she had fought for decades to bring about. Ironically, just 14 months before the coup, she travelled to the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague to defend those same generals against charges of genocide over a 2017 military offensive that drove ethnic Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar. The latest move against Suu Kyi is being seen as a step to discredit her and prevent her from running in the next election. The constitution bars anyone sent to prison after being convicted of a crime from holding high office or becoming a lawmaker.

Opposition to military rule remains strong 10 months after the army’s takeover, and the verdict may inflame tensions even further.

However, her silence on the regime’s crackdown on the Rohingya has put her political integrity under a cloud. The optimism generated by Suu Kyi’s 2015 election win evaporated two years later, when Rohingya militants attacked security forces and the military responded with an offensive that eventually expelled more than 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar.

UN investigators in an August 2018 report said the Myanmar military had carried out killings and mass rape.

In December 2019, Suu Kyi defended the military operation before the UN International Court of Justice, describing it as a counterterrorism response and asking the court to dismiss a genocide accusation brought by Gambia.

The Western outrage over the plight of the Rohingya however did not dent her popularity. Suu Kyi’s long struggle for democracy made her a heroine in Myanmar.

Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Myanmar in 2012, calling her an “inspiration to people all around the world, including myself”.

The last democratically elected leader of the country, who was ousted in a military coup in February, is facing a total of 11 charges. In its ruling on the first two charges to be brought, a court jailed Suu Kyi under the first charges brought under the natural disasters law of Myanmar, a legal official said.

If found guilty in all the cases she faces, the leader could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

The sentencing is the first in a series of cases in which the 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. The verdict in another case against her is expected next week.

Known as “the Lady”, Suu Kyi had fulfilled the dreams of millions when her party first won a landslide election in 2015 that established the Southeast Asian nation’s first civilian government in half a century. She spent 15 years under house arrest in the struggle for democracy, but her administration had to cohabit with the generals who retained control of defence and security.

That hybrid government failed to unite Myanmar’s many ethnic groups or end its decade-long civil wars, and Suu Kyi also oversaw tightening restrictions on the press and civil society while falling out with some former allies. But her second election victory in November unnerved the military – and it seized power on February 1, alleging voter fraud by her National League for Democracy party despite rejection of the army’s claims by the election commission and monitors.

Related articles