Myanmar ousted leader sentenced to additional seven years prison on corruption charges News
© WikiMedia (Shafiur Rahman)
Myanmar ousted leader sentenced to additional seven years prison on corruption charges

A Myanmar court Friday sentenced former leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi to another seven years of prison on charges of corruption. Suu Kyi’s total prison sentence now stands at 33 years.

Suu Kyi’s trial took place entirely behind closed doors in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. The five counts of corruption alleged that Suu Kyi abused her leadership position and caused a loss of state funds by neglecting to follow financial regulations. At trial, prosecutors argued Suu Kyi authorized her former cabinet member, Win Myat Aye, to buy and maintain a helicopter. Win Myat was tried alongside Suu Kyi as a co-defendant and also received a sentence of seven years prison.

Following the decision, Amnesty International’s Regional Director Meg de Ronde said:

From start to finish, the trumped-up cases against Aung San Suu Kyi have been politically motivated, unfair, and completely lacking in anything resembling transparency. The same goes for the charges against the thousands of others languishing behind bars in Myanmar’s notorious prisons and interrogation facilities across the country.

Since seizing power almost two years ago, Myanmar’s military has turned the courts and prison system into a human rights inferno in which journalists, activists, politicians, doctors, protesters and many others are jailed for nothing more than peacefully expressing dissent.

Suu Kyi has been the subject of multiple prosecutions by Myanmar’s junta. Among the various charges against Suu Kyi are illegal importation and possession of walkie-talkies, violation of COVID-19 restrictions, breach of Myanmar’s official secrets act, sedition and election fraud. These convictions amounted to 26 years’ imprisonment, which has now been extended to a total of 33 years following her most recent conviction under anti-corruption law, which CNN reports includes three years of hard labor.

Suu Kyi’s sentencing drew international condemnation. Vedant Patel, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, called Suu Kyi’s sentencing an “affront to the rule of law.” Peter Stano, a spokesperson for the EU, called the trial a “blatant violation of human rights” which was “carried forward with no respect for due legal procedure or necessary judicial guarantees [in an] attempt to exclude democratically elected leaders from political life.”

These prosecutions follow in the wake of the military coup which resulted in the removal of Suu Kyi’s elected government in February 2021. The defendants denied all charges, and Suu Kyi’s lawyers are expected to appeal in the coming days.