Former State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung Sun Suu Kyi has been jailed for four years after she was ousted from her role during a military coup. (Credit: Getty)
Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to four years in jail following a military coup which saw her ousted from her post earlier this year.
Suu Kyi has been in detention since the coup, which toppled the former Myanmar government in February 2021, and faced 11 charges which have been widely condemned across the world.
But what has she been charged with and why was she sentenced to four years in prison?
Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, was originally democratically voted in as head of the Myanmar government and took on the role in April 2016.
A member of the National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi was unable to take over the traditional role of presidency after her party won by a landslide in the 2015 elections.
Due to a clause in the Myanmar constitution, she could not take over the presidency because her husband and children were foreign citizens.
Instead the role was re-named the State Counsellor of Myanmar to allow Suu Kyi to avoid loopholes and take the seat as head of government.
During her leadership, she drew criticism for failing to respond to the genocide of the Rohingya people and in 2019, she went on to defend the Burmese army against accusations of genocide against the Rohingya people in the International Court of Justice.
Why was she ousted as leader?
Suu Kyi was arrested and deported during a military coup d’état on 1 February 2021.
The military removed her from office after they declared that the 2020 Myanmar election results were fraudulent, despite the National League for Democracy winning.
The coup was controversial in the country, with protests launched across the country.
What was Aung San Suu Kyi charged with?
During the coup, San Kyi was arrested and charged with 11 counts by the military, alongside other members of the National League for Democracy.
This included counts of corruption, violating the official secrets acts, violating Covid rules and inciting dissent.
Her conviction of four years comes as she was found guilty of inciting dissent and for violating Covid rules for campaigning in 2020 while wearing a mask and face shield.
She is expected to be found guilty of all charges brought against her.
Her imprisonment and the imprisonment of other political prisoners as a result of the coup has been heavily criticised across the world, with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calling on military to release those imprisoned.
She said: “The arbitrary detention of elected politicians only risks further unrest.”
A spokesperson for Myanmar’s National Unity Government, made up of pro-democracy supporters and coup opponents, said: “She is not OK... military generals are preparing for 104 years of sentences for her in prison. They want her to die in prison,”
Did Aung San Suu Kyi win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Prior to her imprisonment and even prior to her rise to the role of State Counsellor, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
She was given the award in 1991 after her non-violent opposition to the military’s attempt to stop the National League for Democracy taking control of the country after they won the 1990 election.
She was placed under house arrest by the military as a result.
Explaining their decision, the Nobel Committee said: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma) for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.
“Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression.”
“In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights, and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.”
Who are Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband and children?
Suu Kyi married English historian Michael Aris in 1972 after meeting at Oxford University.
Aris was an expert in Bhutanese, Tibetan and Himalayan culture, who died from prostate cancer in 1999.
The couple last met in 1995 after Aris was refused entry to Suu Kyi’s home country of Myanmar, which was formally known as Burma.
Authorities resisted pressure from international figures such as Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II to grant Aris a visa, however they lamented that the country did not have the facilities to care for him.
Although Suu Kyi was granted a temporary freeze to her house arrest to visit her husband outside the country at this time, she refused to leave the country over fears she would not be allowed to re-enter the country.
The couple gave birth to two children; Alexander Aris, born in 1973, and Kim Aris, born in 1977.
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