A Myanmar military court has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former adviser to three years in prison for violating the country’s Official State Secrets Act, a source familiar with the court proceedings confirmed to CNN.
Thursday’s verdict is the latest in a string of punishments meted out against the 77-year-old Nobel laureate and means she now faces a total prison term of 23 years.
Suu Kyi’s former economic adviser, Australian Sean Turnell, also received a three-year prison term for violating state secrets, a charge both he and Suu Kyi denied. Turnell, an economist at Sydney’s Macquarie University, had served as a special economic consultant to the former leader and her cabinet.
Suu Kyi was first charged with breaking the secrets law in 2021. She has denied all allegations against her and her supporters say the charges are political. Earlier this month, Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years’ hard labor for electoral fraud.
Since the military junta seized power in Myanmar in a coup early last year, freedoms and rights in the country have deteriorated, rights groups and observers say. State executions have returned and the number of documented violent attacks by the army on schools has surged, according to non-governmental organizations.
Thursday’s verdict follows the detention last month of Vicky Bowman, the United Kingdom’s former ambassador to Myanmar, who served as the UK’s top diplomat in Myanmar between 2002 and 2006.
Along with her husband, Bowman was charged with immigration offenses and sent to Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison.
This week, a beauty queen from Myanmar who had fled to Thailand after speaking out against the junta narrowly escaped being deported to her home country. She is now in Canada where she plans to seek asylum.
And Ma Htet Htet Khine, a journalist who had been working for the BBC’s international charity BBC Media Action, received an additional three-year hard labor prison term on Tuesday after being arrested and charged with incitement under the junta government in 2021.
Experts have expressed concern about her well-being in detention and personal safety.