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Myanmar Military Junta Grants Partial Pardon to Ousted President Suu Kyi Amidst Ongoing Political Crisis

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Myanmar’s ruling military has pardoned jailed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi on five of the 19 offences for which she was convicted but she will remain under house arrest, state media said on Tuesday, August 1.

The pardons mean six years will be removed from Suu Kyi’s 33-year jail term, junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said, adding that it was part of an amnesty under which more than 7,000 prisoners were freed across the country.

Myanmar has been in bloody turmoil since early 2021, when the military overthrew Suu Kyi’s elected government and unleashed a crackdown on opponents of military rule that saw thousands jailed or killed.

On Monday, July 31, the junta postponed an election promised by August this year and extended a state of emergency for another six months, which critics believe would prolong the crisis.

Myanmar military junta grants partial pardon to ousted president Suu Kyi

The 78-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate, was detained during the coup, but was last week moved from prison to house arrest in the capital, Naypyitaw.

She denies all the charges for which she was convicted, ranging from incitement and election fraud to corruption, and has been appealing against them.

The junta spokesperson was quoted as saying the military’s State Administration Council also reduced by four years the jail term of former president Win Myint, who was arrested at the same time as Suu Kyi.

The convictions for which she was pardoned were minor ones including breaching a natural disaster mitigation law in violating COVID-19 rules while election campaigning, the source said.

Myanmar military junta grants partial pardon to ousted president Suu Kyi

In 1991, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy but was only finally released from house arrest in 2010. She swept a 2015 election, held as part of tentative military reforms and her party won the next election in November 2020.

But the military complained of election fraud after the 2020 vote and said it had to take power in early 2021 to ensure the complaints were investigated.

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