Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi pardoned in five of 19 cases, state media says

The country's former civilian leader still faces charges in 14 cases

The pardons for Aung San Suu Kyi could mean a six-year reduction in her 33-year jail sentence. AFP
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Myanmar's former leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be pardoned in five of the 19 cases for which she was sentenced to a total of 33 years, state media reported on Tuesday.

Ms Suu Kyi, 78, was arrested following the 2021 military takeover and tried on charges including election fraud, which her supporters claim were contrived to discredit her and prevent her from resuming a role in politics.

The pardons would mean a reduction in her jail term of six years, representative of the ruling junta Zaw Min Tun told local news outlet Eleven Media Group.

Ms Suu Kyi was transferred from prison to house arrest in Myanmar's capital, Naypyidaw, last week.

Former Myanmar president Win Myint was also pardoned for two out of eight offences, the junta announced. His jail term was reduced by four years.

Mr Myint was arrested at the same time as Ms Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in early 2021 after morning raids.

The army said it had carried out the detentions in response to “election fraud” after the 2020 vote, handing power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year.

Ms Suu Kyi is also accused of sedition, corruption and illegally importing walkie talkies.

Also on Tuesday, the military announced an amnesty for over 7,700 detainees in honour of the Full Moon Day of Waso.

The army also extended a six-month state of emergency that it had unexpectedly instated on February 1, on the two-year anniversary of the coup that overthrew Ms Suu Kyi. The state of emergency means that elections, which which were due to take place on July 31, have been postponed.

Junta chief Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing acknowledged that much of the nation is not under full military control, state media reported.

“We need for a time to continue our duty for systematic preparation, as we shouldn’t hold coming elections in a rush,” state-run MRTV quoted him as saying.

"The junta claims the elections will inaugurate a return to civilian rule, but every indication is that it wants to enshrine its own political pre-eminence in the country," the International Crisis Group think tank said in a report back in March.

Last month, Ms Suu Kyi's lawyers said she will appeal to the country's Supreme Court against her convictions. She has denied all charges.

Myanmar Radio and Television reported the pardons on Tuesday but Reuters cited a source saying she would remain under house arrest.

“She won't be free from house arrest,” said the source, who declined to be identified, Reuters reported.

Ms Suu Kyi was first placed under house arrest in 1989 after protests against military rule.

Two years later, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy but was only fully released from house arrest in 2010.

She won a 2015 election which was held as part of tentative military reforms and her party won the next election in November 2020.

Many governments, particularly in the West, have called for the unconditional release of Suu Kyi and thousands of others detained in a bloody crackdown that the junta unleashed against pro-democracy protests in the wake of the coup.

The military’s crackdown on dissent has seen more than 3,800 people killed and more than 24,000 arrested, according to local monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The junta says more than 5,000 civilians have been killed by “terrorists” since it seized power.

Updated: August 01, 2023, 2:59 PM