Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to five more years in prison for corruption

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Bangkok: A military-run court in Myanmar found the country’s former leader Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of corruption and sentenced her to five years in prison on Wednesday in the first of several corruption cases against her.

Suu Kyi, who was ousted by a military takeover last year, had denied the allegation that she had accepted gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars given in bribes by a prominent political colleague.

Her supporters and independent legal experts view her prosecution as an unfair move aimed at discrediting Suu Kyi and legitimizing the military’s takeover while preventing the 76-year-old elected leader from returning to an active role in politics.

Myanmar’s former leader Aung San Suu Kyi faces retrial on charges.Credit:PA

She has already been sentenced to six years in prison in other cases and faces 10 other corruption charges. The maximum penalty provided by the anti-corruption law is 15 years in prison and a fine. Convictions in the other cases could carry sentences of more than 100 years in prison in total for a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has already spent years in detention for defying military rule.

News of Wednesday’s verdict came from a judicial official who asked not to be identified as he is not authorized to release such information. Suu Kyi’s trial in the capital Naypyitaw has been closed to media, diplomats and spectators, and her lawyers have not been allowed to speak to the press.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in the 2020 general election, but lawmakers were barred from sitting when the military seized power on February 1, 2021, arresting Suu Kyi and many high-ranking colleagues in his party and government. The military claimed it acted because there had been massive voter fraud, but independent election monitors found no major irregularities.

Protests after Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest in February 2021 were brutally suppressed by Myanmar's military.

Protests after Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest in February 2021 were brutally suppressed by Myanmar’s military. Credit:PA

The takeover was met with large, non-violent protests across the country, which security forces put down with lethal force that has so far resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,800 civilians, according to a monitoring group. , the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.

As the crackdown intensified, armed resistance against the military government intensified and some UN experts now characterize the country as being in a state of civil war.

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