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UN rights boss denounces Suu Kyi jailing

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has denounced a four-year jail term handed down to Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a “sham trial” and called for her immediate release.

The conviction of Suu Kyi “closes yet another door to political dialogue” in Myanmar, where the military took power on February 1, and “will only deepen rejection of the coup”, Bachelet said in a statement issued on Monday by her Geneva office.

A court jailed Suu Kyi for four years on Monday on charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions, said a source in a case that critics described as “farcical”.

“The conviction of the State Counsellor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically motivated,” Bachelet said.

“The military is attempting to instrumentalise the courts to remove all political opposition.”

Suu Kyi, 76, still faces charges of corruption and electoral fraud, she added.

Bachelet also said that the army, known as the Tatmadaw, had detained more than 10,000 opponents since the coup and that at least 175 people, including many members of Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) party, were reported to have died in custody “most likely due to ill-treatment or torture”.

She called for the immediate release of all those unlawfully detained.

Bachelet also strongly condemned what she called a “vicious, utterly reprehensible” attack on Sunday in the main city of Yangon, where security forces used a vehicle to “ram into unarmed anti-coup protesters and then fired upon the group using live ammunition”.

Five people were killed, according to media and witnesses.

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