Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi now faces a two-year sentence for incitement and violating coronavirus rules after the military government ordered her four-year sentence halved, in the wake of Monday's first verdict against her since a February coup.
Suu Kyi, who was detained and put under house arrest after her civilian government led by the National League for Democracy was ousted from power, has been put on trial for more than 10 criminal charges, while she denies any wrongdoing.
Earlier Monday, Suu Kyi, 76, and Win Myint, 70, president of the government she led as state counsellor until the coup, were both sentenced to four years in prison by the military-controlled court in the capital Naypyitaw.
However, state TV announced in the evening that top leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, as chairman of the State Administration Council, had "granted two years amnesty each."
It said neither will be sent to prison, but can instead serve out their sentences at their current place of detainment.
In Monday's court rulings, Suu Kyi and Win Myint each got two years for incitement and another two years for breaking coronavirus regulations under the natural disaster management law.
Their incitement charge stemmed from a statement issued by the NLD following the coup that called on the people not to accept military rule and encouraged them to protest the coup.
Among the other charges against Suu Kyi are allegedly violating a colonial-era official secrets law and the anti-corruption law. If convicted on all counts, she could be sentenced to over 100 years in prison.
Suu Kyi's trial has been conducted behind closed doors, and authorities have told her lawyers not to discuss the trial publicly.
Condemnation of Suu Kyi's sentencing came swiftly, with U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet calling it a "sham trial" that was "nothing but politically-motivated."
"The military is attempting to instrumentalize the courts to remove all political opposition," Bachelet said in a statement. "But these cases cannot provide a legal veneer to the illegitimacy of the coup and military rule."
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the conviction of Suu Kyi and the repression of other democratically elected officials are "further affronts to democracy and justice" in Myanmar.
"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 in a statement, using another name for the Southeast Asian country.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called it "another appalling attempt by Myanmar's military regime to stifle opposition and suppress freedom and democracy."
She said Britain "calls on the regime to release political prisoners, engage in dialogue and allow a return to democracy. The arbitrary detention of elected politicians only risks further unrest."
The European Union, in a statement, said it "strongly condemns this politically motivated verdict, which constitutes another major setback for democracy in Myanmar since the military coup."