Norwegian Nobel Committee slams ‘politically motivated’ Suu Kyi convictions

Myanmar’s ousted prime minister, Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has been sentenced to another four years in prison. Photo: Aung Shine Oo, AP / NTB

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has assailed the news of three new convictions handed down on 10 January against Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Norwegian Nobel Committee slams the verdict as ‘politically motivated’ and Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt believes the Security Council, in general, has failed.

Aftenposten writes that Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been found guilty on two counts in the case where she was charged with illegal import and possession of walkie-talkies and on one point in the case where she is accused of violating the country’s covid-19 rules. 

The charges she has been convicted of are just three out of a total of 11 against the deposed leader and in December she was also sentenced to four years in prison for inciting rebellion against the military and for breaking the country’s covid-19 rules.

However, this sentence was subsequently reduced to two years’ house arrest. Suu Kyi denies all the allegations but risks more than 100 years in prison if she is found guilty of all 11 charges.

Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent observers believe the indictment against Suu Kyi is an attempt by the military junta to legitimize their own takeover and prevent her from ever returning to politics.

According to the Business Recorder, Chairwoman of the Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Andersen told AFP in an email that “The Nobel Committee is deeply concerned about her situation,” and that “The latest ruling against Aung San Suu Kyi is a politically motivated ruling.”

The EU has also reacted strongly, calling the trial a further violation of human rights by the military coup plotters while UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called the trial a “politically motivated hoax” and demanded the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Even before Suu Kyi received the new convictions on 10 January, Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt believed the Security Council had failed. Norway has in recent months been pushing for the UN Security Council to discuss developments in Myanmar but has not succeeded and Anniken Huitfeldt recently said to Aftenposten, “For both Ethiopia / Tigray and Myanmar, we, unfortunately, have to say that the Security Council has failed. Failed to prevent and failed to respond in a way that could have prevented serious human rights violations and spared major civilian casualties,” 

According to the Foreign Minister, Norway has pushed for urgent meetings and statements.

“Unfortunately, the response or statements have not been as strong as we would have liked. We would like to see that there was support among the council members to use more instruments, as the UN Charter prescribes”.

Suu Kyi has previously been under house arrest for over 15 years in the family’s old house on the shores of Lake Inya in the country’s largest city, Yangon. It is not known where she is currently under house arrest as she is refused to communicate with the outside world.

The military junta has also denied access to her special envoy from the Southeast Asian Cooperation Organization (ASEAN), which led to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing being declared undesirable at the October summit.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, who holds the presidency of ASEAN this year, was also not allowed to visit Suu Kyi when he became the first head of state after the coup to visit Myanmar last week.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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