Myanmar Widens Arrests and Slaps Aung San Suu Kyi With More Prison Time

Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was held alone in a cell about 200 square feet. Daytime temperatures can pass 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but there is no air conditioning. According to two people with knowledge of her condition, when it rained, water splashed in through uncovered windows.

In the near future, this is the life of the 77-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner and one-time democracy icon. On Monday, a special court appointed by the military regime that detained her last year convicted Aung San Suu Kyi of four charges of corruption and had six years added to her sentence, according to one of the residents.

She has served 11 years on half a dozen charges.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who served as a state adviser, was forced out of her position by the military and placed under house arrest in February 2021. In June, she was arrested. sent to prison in Naypyidawcapital, after a courtroom was built there to try her.

Allies bring her food and white and brown clothes so she doesn’t have to wear the prisoner’s lice-infested uniform. Female officers went to her cell and tasted her prison food to show her that it wasn’t tainted, according to two people people with knowledge of her plight, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Aung San Suu Kyi is one of more than 15,000 people arrested for resisting military rule, and of these, 12,000 are still being held, according to the Association to Support Political Prisoners.

Many were tortured in interrogation centers and convicted by military courts after brief trials where defense lawyers and the public were barred. Convicted prisoners are often transferred to remote prisons, creating additional hardship for them and their families. U Aung Myo Kyaw said, spokesman for the group of political prisoners.

He likens Myanmar to a closed, repressive North Korean society under dictator Kim Jong-un. “Anyone in Myanmar can be arrested at any time even if they have nothing to do with politics,” he said.

After hanged four pro-democracy activists last month, including prominent activist U Kyaw Min Yu and former hip-hop artist and elected member of Congress U Phyo Zeya Thaw, the regime has promised more executions. Since the coup, more than 70 political prisoners have been sentenced to death.

Journalists are also under closer scrutiny. At least 55 journalists are currently jailed, according to the organization that protects the rights of journalists detained in Myanmar. Last month, reporter Ko Maung Maung Myo of the independent Mekong News Agency convicted of violating anti-terrorism laws and was sentenced to six years for possessing photographs and interviews with a local guerrilla group.

And Japanese documentary filmmaker Turo Kubota, 26, traveling on a tourist visa, has arrested after covering a protest. He faces seven years for inciting public unrest and violating immigration rules.

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Authorities recently began cracking down on what they consider inappropriate, arresting two famous models for posting pornographic videos on subscription site OnlyFans and a similar site, Exantria.

The authorities said the videos could harm Myanmar’s “culture and dignity” and “have no modesty that Myanmar women should uphold”, state media reported. The models face 15 years in prison.

One of the role models is Nang Mwe San, a former doctor with medical license was revoked before the coup for posting pictures of her in bikinis and lingerie on Facebook. Recently, she criticized the authorities for confiscating her passport – along with those of other celebrities – as she prepared to take her father to Bangkok for medical treatment. He died soon after.

Thinzar Wint Kyaw, a popular model, actress and singer with 1.6 million followers on Instagram, was also arrested. The regime said it will continue to hunt down others online who offend the modesty the regime currently requires of its citizens.

Human rights lawyer U Kyi Myint says the regime is seeing itself as defending traditional morality in the deeply Buddhist country, even as soldiers massacre civilians and rape women. “All dictators use religion and culture as a weapon to arrest people, so this is not a surprise,” he said.

At the prison in Naypyidaw, Aung San Suu Kyi was isolated from other inmates when she did not attend the trial. In court, she had 30 minutes to meet her lawyers and accomplices. Her trials are closed to the public and the court has banned her lawyers from speaking about her publicly.

She is said to be in good health but has suffered from scabies and has lost weight since entering prison. Mosquitoes attack her in her cell. But she is said to be handling her situation calmly.

She also gets special treatment.

The prison officials, apparently fearing that something might happen to her under their watch, took unusually long periods of time to care for her.

Her cell is unusually large for only one prisoner, especially in Myanmar’s overcrowded prison system.

Three female staff members were assigned to attend and provide security. Apart from tasting her food, they are always ready to assist her at any time. While many inmates do not receive medical care even in the face of life-threatening illnesses, a doctor visits her weekly.

Four corruption charges against her were decided on Monday, focusing on land and construction contracts tied to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, an organization Aung San Suu Kyi founded in her mother’s name. and she was at the top until she was caught.

The court found that she negotiated a reduction in payments to the government from a fund worth more than $13 million. The court also ruled she broke the law when the fund raised nearly $8 million from foreign donors and spent it on projects that weren’t originally advertised.

Defenders say the charges against her were brought to silence her.

Aung San Suu Kyi is used to living in isolation for a long time. Over the past 33 years, she has spent 17 times in detention, mostly under house arrest. Now she faces the possibility of spending the rest of her years incarcerated.

With Monday’s guilty verdict, she was convicted of 10 counts and convicted of a total of 17 counts. years in prison. Still ahead are trials for nine more charges with a possible maximum sentence of 122 years.

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