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Blinken Denounces New 3-Year Prison Term for Myanmar's Suu Kyi


FILE - Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi waits to address judges of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Dec. 11, 2019.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday denounced a new three-year sentence imposed on Myanmar's ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and urged further pressure on the country's junta.

"We strongly condemn the Burma military regime's unjust sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi to three more years of prison, including hard labor," Blinken said, using Myanmar's former name.

"We must work together to hold the regime accountable for its escalating violence and repression of democratically elected leaders in Burma."

The latest sentence, handed down behind closed doors, takes the total jail time the Nobel laureate and democracy figurehead is facing to two decades.

The new sentence was over purported electoral fraud in 2020 polls that her party won by a landslide.

The military deposed and detained her the following February and has piled on a series of charges including corruption that her supporters say are trumped up.

The United States and other Western nations have imposed a series of sanctions on Myanmar's junta since the coup -- but to little avail.

The United States pledged further action after the junta executed four democracy activists in July but has held back from the key step of sanctions on its oil and gas industry amid opposition from Thailand, which imports energy from its neighbor.

In a speech broadcast last month, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing did not mention a date for fresh polls but said they could only be held when the country was "peaceful and stable."

More than 2,200 people have been killed and over 15,000 arrested in the military's crackdown on dissent since it seized power, according to a local monitoring group.

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