Myanmar junta cuts six years from Suu Kyi’s 33-year jail term

The country has been ravaged by violence in the two years since Suu Kyi was deposed in a coup and hit with 19 criminal cases ranging from corruption to breaching Covid-19 rules.

There have been concerns for the 78-year-old Nobel laureate’s health and the junta moved her from prison to a government building last week.

“Six years imprisonment will be reduced,” junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told reporters after it was announced she had been pardoned in five cases.

Suu Kyi still faces 14 cases despite the pardon. Rights groups have condemned the legal battle against her as a sham designed to remove a popular democratic leader from the public eye.

Former Myanmar president Win Myint, who was also removed in the 2021 coup, was granted a four-year reduction in relation to two cases, the junta spokesman said.

‘Cruel games’

Tuesday’s announcement was part of an amnesty of more than 7,000 prisoners to mark Buddhist Lent, including 125 foreigners who are to be released and pardoned.

An unspecified number of prisoners facing the death penalty also had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment, the announcement said.

David Mathieson, an independent analyst on Myanmar, said the partial pardon was a “cynical ploy to tell the world that there might be some kind of political resolution coming. When we know that there is not”.

“I think they are just playing cruel games with a political prisoner,” Mathieson said.

“All the charges against her are absurd and shaving six years off 33 isn’t mercy.” Human Rights Watch’s Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson said the junta aimed “to create the impression of moderation and dialogue when in fact there really is none on offer”.

Joe Freeman, a spokesman on Myanmar for Amnesty International, said the reductions showed the arbitrary nature of the junta’s military courts.

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