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Nobel laureate faces two years in jail after being sentenced for incitement and breaching Covid regulations

A pro-democracy activist holds a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest in Tokyo last week. Photograph: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

Myanmar’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has appeared in court wearing prison uniform, a source with knowledge of the court proceedings said.

The Nobel laureate, 76, was sentenced by a court this month to four years in jail for incitement and breaching coronavirus regulations. Her sentence was later reduced to a two-year term of detention in her current, undisclosed location.

She appeared wearing the white top and brown wraparound longyi that is the typical uniform for prisoners in Myanmar. It was the first time Aung San Suu Kyi, who is known for wearing elegant traditional outfits, sometimes with a flower in her hair, had been seen in a prison uniform in court and it was unclear if it signalled a broader change in how she and other senior officials on trial were being treated.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government led to widespread protests and raised international concern about the end of tentative political reforms following decades of military rule.

The verdicts were the first out of nearly a dozen cases against Aung San Suu Kyi that carry combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years in prison. She denies all charges.

Myo Aung, a former mayor of the capital, Naypyidaw, who is on trial with Aung San Suu Kyi, also appeared in court in a prison uniform on Friday, said the source who asked not to be identified.

Longyi are traditional outfits worn by both men and woman in Myanmar.

In remarks published in state media on Tuesday, the country’s military ruler, Min Aung Hlaing, said Aung San Suu Kyi and the ousted president, Win Myint, would remain in the same location during their trials and would not be sent to prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the hero of Myanmar’s independence, spent years under house arrest for her opposition to military rule but was freed in 2010 and led her National League for Democracy party to a landslide victory in a 2015 election before being arrested after the 1 February military coup.

Her trial in Naypyidaw has been closed to the media and Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been barred from communicating with journalists and the public.