The Burmese military junta announced a partial pardon for the deposed democratic leader on Tuesday Aung San Suu Kyiwhich reduces his prison sentence from 33 to 27 years, when the country continues to be immersed in conflict and the military regime refuses to hold elections.
A communiqué from the council which has been in power since coup of February 1, 2021 today announced the remission of 5 of the 19 sentences against Suu Kyi, whom her lawyers dismiss as political fabrications.
The pardon, which covers charges such as violating covid-19 laws or a bribery offense and has a very limited initial impact, was announced in parallel with the reduction of the former president’s sentence from four years to 12. win myintdeposed by the generals, and an amnesty for nearly 7,800 prisoners.
Suu Kyi’s current situation is uncertain. Sources close to her have assured EFE that the former leader, who ruled Burma de facto until the coup, is still in prison, even if she could be transferred to house arrest, as has been speculated for days.
The former leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991 for her struggle for democratic transition in Burma, has already spent 15 years detained in her home during the period of the previous military junta (1962-2011).
The announcement comes as the junta continues to face both external and internal pressure to seek a solution to the conflict, but has failed to take control of the country, losing ground to the civilian People’s Defense Forces (PDF), formed by civilians after the coup.
“I have no doubt that (Suu Kyi’s announcement) is a distraction tactic from her inability to take control of the country, manage the economy and an attempt to whitewash her image in front of the population,” he told EFE . Alistair CookBurma expert of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Suu Kyi’s partial pardon was also announced a day after the junta extended the state of emergency for the fourth time on Monday, for another six months, which eliminates the possibility of holding elections this year, as planned, adding uncertainty to the volatile situation in Burma.
The council, which after the coup had promised to call elections a year later, is shielding itself to extend the state of emergency (after which a maximum period of six months is opened for going to the polls) in what are the “times extraordinary”, the exception allowed by the magna carta, for the “acts of terror” of the opposition.
In particular, the military regime holds the government of national unity (NUG), which proclaims itself the legitimate authority of Burma, and the PDF, its armed wing, as responsible.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
The semi-clandestinely operating NUG was initially set up by former legislative deputies following the victory of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in the November 2020 elections, labeled fraudulent without evidence by the military, his excuse hit.
The president of the NUG, Duwa Lashitoday he urged on his Twitter account that Suu Kyi, Win Myint and all political prisoners be “released unconditionally and immediately”.
Although the Suu Kyi League was the germ of the NUG, it promoted a more ambitious political agenda, while supporting the armed struggle of the PDF, which does not agree with the Nobel formation in principle.
Thus, NUG sources told EFE today that the junta’s attempts to get closer to Suu Kyi could be aimed at “dynamite” and “divide” the opposition, when the junta assured the day before that “there is still time to prepare for the elections”.
The coup has plunged Burma (Myanmar) into a deep political, social and economic crisis and has opened a spiral of violence that has exacerbated the guerrilla warfare that the country has been experiencing for decades.
According to the latest count from the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local NGO, 19,733 political prisoners continue to be detained and 3,857 people died into the hands of the military since the coup.