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Myanmar’s ex-leader Suu Kyi sentenced to 5 years in prison

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Ousted leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to five years in prison by a court in Myanmar, according to an anonymous source with access to her trial, which is being tightly controlled by the junta. The charge was the first of 11 corruption charges filed against her, so her prison sentence will grow if she is found guilty on any other charges.

Suu Kyi was found guilty of accepting cash payments of US$600,000 and 11 kilograms of gold from former Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein. 76 year old Suu Kyi described the accusations as “absurd.” The sentence carried a maximum punishment of 15 years, but Suu Kyi was charged with five years in prison.

Each of the 11 corruption charges filed against the democratically-elected former leader of Myanmar carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. Suu Kyi was already charged with six years in prison for incitement against the military, breaching Covid-19 rules and breaking a telecommunications law. She will remain under house arrest while she appeals against the many other charges filed against her.

Suu Kyi and her detained former economic policy advisor Sean Turnell are also accused of breaking the “official secrets” act. According to an unnamed source, Suu Kyu is also accused of channeling charity funds into real estate.

Since the military took power by coup in Myanmar in February last year, ousting her from her democratically-elected position, Suu Kyi has been continuously facing corruption charges. Suu Kyi won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 in recognition of her brave struggle for democracy in Myanmar. However, in 2016 her reputation become tarnished globally as people said she turned a blind eye to the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi’s leaders have been banned from speaking to the press about Suu Kyi’s current court cases. Journalists have also been barred from attending the court hearings in the country’s capital Naypyidaw.

Human Rights Watch have called Suu Kyi’s ongoing trials a “courtroom circus of secret proceedings on bogus charges.. So that [Aung San Suu Kyi] will remain in prison indefinitely.”

According to the UN, 1,500 people have been killed and a further 8,800 are in custody since the military coup in Myanmar in February last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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