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Nobel peace prize recipient, Aung San suu Kyi, sentenced to three more years in Myanmar

The Nobel peace prize award holder turned tyrant Aung San suu Kyi is sentenced to another three years after the former leader of Myanmar was found guilty of breaching the country’s official secrets act by a secretive military court, the latest in a thread of convictions brought by the generals who removed her from office in a coup last year.

Aung San Suu Kyi has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison in other cases and can never resume office in Myanmar, a country where she remains highly popular.

“What we can see with all these charges being brought against her and all the sentences imposed – we think now at 23 years including hard labor – that is really a life sentence now for Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng who is based in Bangkok but has reported frequently from Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi once famously received the noble peace prize award but was later heavily criticized her for turning a blind eye and some even accused her of instigating a violent crackdown towards the Rohingya Muslims of her country.

Already ostracized by Myanmar, the clan, mostly Muslims, fell prey to the notorious Myanmar’s military. The claim that Myanmar’s military carried out genocide was brought to the international court of justice (ICJ) by the Gambia after a brutal 2017 military crackdown that forced an estimated 700,000 Rohingya to flee over the border to neighboring Bangladesh.

Her economic adviser, Sean Turnell, was also found guilty and sentenced to three years in jail, the official said. The Australian advisor was sentenced five days after the deadly February 2021 coup. The Australian embassy was not allowed to attend his trial and he was even denied a translator during proceedings.

“Three years each, no hard labor” a source told the Reuters news agency.

Australia said it rejected the court ruling and called for Tarnell’s immediate release.

“The Australian government has consistently rejected the charges against Professor Turnell during the more than 19 months he had been unjustly detained by the Myanmar military regime,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement.

“We will continue to take every opportunity to advocate strongly for Professor Turnell until he has returned to his family in Australia.”

The exact details of their alleged offences have not been made public, although state television said last year that Turnell had access to “secret state financial information” and had tried to flee the country. Other members of her economic team were also charged in the case.

Both Aung San suu Kyi and her advisor Turnell are now 77 years old and have vehementily denied the allegations in the case when they testified in August.

The Australian Human Rights Institute at UNSW condemned the verdict and urged the country to further probe into the case. 

“From the beginning, it was clear that the military arrested Sean simply because of his close association with Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also in jail,” Melissa Crouch, an associate at the institute and a professor at UNSW said in a statement.

UN investigators have since alleged the military’s operations were carried out with “genocidal intent”. According to stats, more than 24,000+ Rohingya people were killed by the Myanmar military and local Buddhists since the “clearance operations” started on 25th August 2017. 

The act of extreme violence led to rapes, mass evacuation, and striking poverty by the ultra-right Buddhist military. The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims has resulted in catastrophic consequences for its community where they continue to suffer immensely.

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  • Zamena Manekia Manji

    Zamena Manekia Manji is a breaking news writer for TMJ News with experience of over 10 years in the field. Her areas of focus are important breaking stories in North America specifically untold stories from a minority lens.

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