Myanmar court convicts Aung San Suu Kyi on more corruption charges

Aung San Suu Kyi received sentences totaling six more years in prison.(Reuters/Yves Herman)

A legal official said that the former leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, was found guilty of additional corruption charges on Monday, adding six years to her 11-year prison sentence.

The trial was held behind closed doors, with no media or public access, and a gag order prohibited her attorneys from discussing the proceedings.

In the four corruption cases decided on Monday, Suu Kyi was said to have misused her position by renting public land at below-market rates and constructing a house with charitable donations. She was given three-year sentences for each of the four crimes, but three penalties will be served concurrently, giving her an additional six years in prison.

She disputed all charges, and her attorneys are anticipated to file an appeal.

After the military overthrew her elected administration and arrested her in February 2021, she had already been sentenced to 11 years on charges of sedition, corruption, and other offenses.

Analysts believe that the multiple allegations against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimize the military's seizure of power while removing her from politics before the military's promised election next year.

Suu Kyi and her co-defendants have disputed all claims. Their attorneys are set to submit appeals in the coming days, according to a legal official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to share information and feared repercussions from the government.

Other prominent members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party and her government have also been imprisoned. The government has hinted that it may disband the party before the next election.

The army took power and imprisoned Suu Kyi on February 1, 2021, the day her party would have begun a second five-year term in office following its resounding victory in the general election held in November 2020. The army claimed it intervened due to widespread voter fraud, but impartial election observers did not identify any severe abnormalities.

The army's takeover provoked countrywide protests violently suppressed by security forces, resulting in armed resistance that some U.N. experts today classify as a civil war. The military government has been accused of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and executions, torture, and military sweeps involving air strikes on civilians and destroying entire communities.

For three decades, Suu Kyi, 77, has been the face of Myanmar's opposition to military rule. She earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 despite being under house arrest.

Myanmar's most democratic period since the 1962 coup was marred by repression and military rule during her five years as its civilian leader.

Suu Kyi has been charged with eleven offenses under the Anti-Corruption Act, each carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine.

In Monday's convictions, a legal official stated that Suu Kyi earned a three-year prison sentence for constructing a home for herself in Naypyitaw, reportedly using funds contributed to a charitable foundation she oversaw and named after her mother.

The official stated that she received a three-year term for allegedly using her position to rent property in Yangon, the country's largest city, for the same charity.

The two other instances decided on Monday were land properties in Naypyitaw that she allegedly abused her position to rent to the organization at below-market rates. She was sentenced to three years in each of these cases.

The three instances involving Naypyitaw offenses are to be served simultaneously.

Myo Aung, the former mayor of Naypyitaw, was a co-defendant in both trials involving the issuance of land rental licenses. Former vice mayor Ye Min Oo and former Naypyitaw Development Committee Min Thu members are co-defendants in separate cases. Each received a three-year sentence.

The government Anti-Corruption Commission filed the lawsuit and stated that the rental rates agreed upon by the Naypyitaw Development Committee were lower than the rate established by the Ministry of Planning and Finance, depriving the state of revenue it was entitled to receive.

Publish : 2022-08-15 17:14:00

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