Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from house arrest in an undisclosed location in the capital to solitary confinement in prison in the capital Nay Pyi Taw. There has been no indication of why her sentence and location were changing. A brief statement from the military government confirmed Suu Kyi’s move to prison, saying it followed criminal laws in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
More than 14,000 individuals have been detained for protesting the military that overthrew Suu Kyi’s elected government, including several members of her party. However, significant public hostility towards the military is leading to active armed conflicts in several regions of the nation.
Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested when the military overthrew her elected government in February 2021. She has been held at an undisclosed location in the capital for the past year. Suu Kyi was sentenced to eleven years in jail with the potential for more convictions. She continues to deny the host of charges widely condemned as politically-motivated following the country’s coup.
As Suu Kyi’s trials continue to erupt, many accuse the military of planning to keep her in custody for the rest of her life. The charges she has been convicted of in several trials include incitement, corruption, breaching Covid rules, and breaking a telecommunications law. If convicted on all charges, Suu Kyi would face a total jail sentence of more than 190 years, by some estimates.
Although the government never defined the location of her house arrest, BBC’s Jonathan Head said it was clear to many that Suu Kyi was able to surround herself with several close companions until now. AFP news agency quoted a source saying Suu Kyi’s domestic staff and her dog did not accompany her to prison.
Suu Kyi’s move into solitary confinement puts her at an even higher level of isolation. According to sources close to the court who spoke to BBC Burmese, she was transferred on Wednesday to a separate, purpose-built housing inside the jail, similar to her former co-worker, deposed president Win Myint. According to BBC sources, Suu Kyi was last seen in good health.
With only three female officers helping her, Suu Kyi seems to have been completely shut out, a prisoner of political sway, much like the opposers of Myanmar’s current military.
Human Rights groups have spoken out condemning the secret trials of Suu Kyi. They’ve labeled the overtly inadequate trial a sham and referenced outrage when they spoke of Suu Kyi’s lawyers being forbidden from speaking to journalists. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, told AFP, “What we are seeing is the Myanmar junta moving towards a much more punitive phase, towards Aung San Suu Kyi. They are obviously trying to intimidate her and her supporters.”
Suu Kyi remains a ‘fan favorite’ in Myanmar; opposition to the military is widespread, and some parts of the country are engulfed in armed conflict.