Updated Dec 6, 2021 - World

Myanmar court sentences deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi

 An anti-coup protester holds up a placard featuring de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on March 02, 2021

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

The latest: Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the country's leader, later cut Suu Kyi's sentence to two years, the Times reports.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticized as politically motivated.

The big picture: Suu Kyi has been detained since the military overthrew the elected government and seized power on Feb. 1.

  • Suu Kyi could be sentenced to a total of 102 years in prison if convicted of all charges, which she denies. Other charges she faces include corruption and illegal possession of walkie-talkie radios.

Of note: Myanmar security forces have killed hundreds of activists and arrested thousands of others following massive protests since the coup.

What they're saying: The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said in a statement ahead of Suu Kyi's sentencing it was "horrified by reports that security forces opened fire against, ran over, and killed several peaceful protesters."

  • "The Burmese military regime’s unjust conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi and the repression of other democratically elected officials are yet further affronts to democracy and justice in Burma," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
  • "The regime’s continued disregard for the rule of law and its widespread use of violence against the Burmese people underscore the urgency of restoring Burma’s path to democracy," he added. "We urge the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained, including other democratically elected officials."

What to watch: Lawyers for Suu Kyi and two colleagues also convicted Monday were expected to appeal their sentences, AP notes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper