Myanmar court defers Suu Kyi trial verdicts to December 27

Court is to rule on charges of possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies and signal jammers

Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi hold posters bearing her image. Photo: AFP
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A court in military-ruled Myanmar deferred on Monday the latest verdicts in the trial of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to December 27, a source familiar with the proceedings said.

The court had been due to rule on charges of possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies and a set of signal jammers, which carry maximum penalties of three years and a year in jail, respectively. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the judge did not give a reason for the deferral.

The delay comes after Ms Suu Kyi, 76, was sentenced on December 6 to four years in jail for incitement and breaching coronavirus rules by the court. Her sentence was later reduced to a two-year term of detention in her current, undisclosed location.

Initially, Ms Suu Kyi “was sentenced to two years' imprisonment under section 505(b) and two years' imprisonment under natural disaster law”, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said. But Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing later “pardoned” the sentences she and former president Win Myint were given to “two years imprisonment”, according to a statement read out on state TV.

They would serve their sentences under the house arrest they have been kept under in the capital of Naypyidaw. The military has not given details of where Ms Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest under a previous military government, is being detained

In remarks published last week in state media, military ruler Min Aung Hlaing said Ms Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint would remain in the same location during their trials and would not be sent to prison.

The junta says Ms Suu Kyi is being given due process by an independent court led by a judge appointed by her own administration. But her trial in the capital, Naypyidaw, has been closed to the media and Ms Suu Kyi's lawyers have been barred from communicating with the media and public.

Ms Suu Kyi in on trial for nearly a dozen cases that carry combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years in prison. She has denied all charges.

Ms Suu Kyi's supporters say the cases against her are baseless and designed to end her political career and tie her up in legal proceedings while the military consolidates power.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the February 1 coup against Ms Suu Kyi's democratically elected government led to widespread protests and raised international concern about the end of tentative political reforms following decades of military rule.

Updated: December 20, 2021, 9:22 AM