Myanmar court sentences Aung San Suu Kyi to 5 years for corruption
© WikiMedia (Claude TRUONG-NGOC)
Myanmar court sentences Aung San Suu Kyi to 5 years for corruption

A court in Myanmar Wednesday sentenced deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in prison after finding her guilty of corruption. Suu Kyi was convicted of accepting about USD $1.3 million in gold and cash from a political colleague. She has denied the allegations.

This is the first of several corruption cases against Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate who was ousted in a military coup in February 2021. The trial was closed to the public and rested largely on the testimony of the former chief minister of Yangon who confessed to delivering gold and cash to Suu Kyi in shopping bags.

Suu Kyi has been charged with 17 criminal counts. She was sentenced in January to four years in prison after being found guilty on charges including the possession of walkie talkies and the breach of COVID-19 regulations. She was also convicted in December on charges incitement and breaking COVID-19 rules and sentenced to four years in prison, although that sentence was later reduced to two years. Suu Kyi currently has nine more corruption charges pending against her, and, if convicted on all counts, the 76-year-old faces more than 100 years in prison.

Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, told NPR Wednesday:

It’s quite clear that they are aiming to put her away forever. She’s 76 years old. They don’t want to see her again. They view her as being the embodiment of Myanmar democracy. And by putting her away, it makes their lives easier to try to crush what is the ongoing people’s resistance and demands for a wider democratic future in Burma.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won elections by a wide margin in 2020, but lawmakers were prevented from taking their seats when the military seized power on February 1, 2021, arresting Suu Kyi and other senior officials. Violence has persisted in the country as the military junta attempts to stamp out opposition.