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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Rebecca Ratcliffe in Bangkok and Min Ye Kyaw

Aung San Suu Kyi given partial pardon by Myanmar junta

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi has been in detention since the 2021 coup in Myanmar. Photograph: Ann Wang/Reuters

Myanmar’s junta has pardoned Aung San Suu Kyi on five legal charges, military-controlled TV has announced, although the deposed leader still faces more than two decades in detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained by the military since 1 February 2021 when it ousted her democratically elected government. The 78-year-old has since been sentenced for multiple charges – including incitement, electoral fraud and corruption.

In a statement published on military TV, it was announced that five cases had been pardoned as part of an amnesty, but 14 cases remain. It means her 33-year jail-term will be reduced by six years.

“Chairman of the state administration council pardons Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced by the relevant courts,” the broadcast said.

The ousted president Win Myint, who had also been detained since the coup, would be pardoned on two cases, it was announced. He had faced eight cases, but this has been reduced to six. His sentence will be reduced by four years, junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told the Eleven Media Group.

The announcement was part of an amnesty of more than 7,000 prisoners to mark Buddhist Lent. Images published by independent media showed family members waiting in front of Insein prison, hoping their loved ones would be released.

More than 19,700 people are in detention, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma, which tracks arrests. Anyone suspected of questioning military rule is at risk of being imprisoned.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been seen only once since the 2021 coup in images taken in a courtroom in Naypyidaw, is appealing against her sentences.

Very little is known about the proceedings in any of her trials, which cannot be accessed by media or observers. Her lawyer has also been prevented from speaking to journalists.

The UN security council has called for her release, while the cases have been widely criticised by rights groups and many western countries as politically motivated.

A lawyer representing Aung San Suu Kyi has previously described the cases as absurd.

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