A file photo of Aung San Suu Kyi at the Akasaka Palace State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, 09 October 2018 (reissued 01 August 2023). EFE-EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON / POOL

Myanmar junta grants partial pardon to jailed pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi

Bangkok, Aug 1 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military rulers Tuesday declared pardon for jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 78-year-old Noble peace laureate has been in jail since the coup in February 2021 over numerous alleged offenses for which she could be imprisoned for up to 33 years.

The military regime announced the pardon in a letter accessed by EFE a day after the government extended the state of emergency in Myanmar for another six months, which nullifies the possibility of holding elections this year.

The military amnesty announced the pardon for only five of the 19 convictions.

A person familiar with the development said it meant that she would remain in detention.

The decision comes days after speculation was rife that the Nobel peace laureate was being transferred from prison to house arrest in the capital, Naypyitaw, widely seen as a mili attempt by the military to test the waters ahead of an election.

Suu Kyi has only been seen once after the coup on Feb.1, 2021.

She has appealed the convictions for the alleged crimes, including stoking unrest, election fraud, corruption, violating Covid-19 restrictions, and using unauthorized foreign telephone devices.

She had spent 15 years under house arrest in Yangon during the previous military junta rule (1962-2011) before being released in 2012.

The overthrow of the Suu Kyi-led civilian government ended a decade of democratic transition in the country, plunging it into a spiral of violence and semi-anarchy.

On Monday, the military junta announced it was extending the state of emergency in force in the country for six more months until January 31, 2023.

This is the fourth extension to a state of emergency since the military overthrew the democratically-elected government.

The state of emergency means there would not be a general election despite the junta previously pledging to hold one this summer.

Myanmar’s constitution stipulates that elections can only take place six months after the end of a state of emergency.

According to a 33-page document published Monday after a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council to which EFE had access, the junta justified the extension to the state of emergency, saying the country was still subject to “violent forces” that were trying to “seize state power.”

The military also accused the pro-democracy People’s Defense Forces (PDF) of “acts of terror.”

The PDF is the armed wing of the National Unity Government (NUG), a government in exile of elected leaders who were to take office until the military coup.

Myanmar’s military cited widespread irregularities during November 2020 general elections, which saw Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party win by a landslide.

The coup was widely condemned by the international community and the PDF. EFE