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Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to five more years jail on corruption charges

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

Suu Kyi, who was ousted by an army takeover last year, had denied the allegation that she had accepted gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars given her as a bribe by a top political colleague.

Her supporters and independent legal experts consider her prosecution an unjust move to discredit Suu Kyi and legitimise the military’s seizure of power while keeping the 76-year-old elected leader from returning to an active role in politics.

Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi faces further trials over charges.Credit:AP

She has already been sentenced to six years imprisonment in other cases and faces 10 more corruption charges. The maximum punishment under the Anti-Corruption Act is 15 years in prison and a fine. Convictions in the other cases could bring sentences of more than 100 years in prison in total for a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who already spent years in detention for defying military rule.

News of Wednesday’s verdict came from a legal official who asked not to be identified because he is not authorised to release such information. Suu Kyi’s trial in the capital Naypyitaw was closed to the media, diplomats and spectators, and her lawyers were barred from speaking to the press.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in the 2020 general election, but lawmakers were not allowed to take their seats when the army seized power on February 1, 2021, arresting Suu Kyi and many senior colleagues in her party and government. The army claimed it acted because there had been massive electoral fraud, but independent election observers didn’t find any major irregularities.

Protests after Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest in February 2021 were put down brutally by Myanmar’s army.

Protests after Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest in February 2021 were put down brutally by Myanmar’s army. Credit:AP

The takeover was met with large nonviolent protests nationwide, which security forces quashed with lethal force that has so far led to the deaths of almost 1,800 civilians, according to a watchdog group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

As repression escalated, armed resistance against the military government grew, and some UN experts now characterise the country as being in a state of civil war.



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