A military court sentenced deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in jail on Wednesday finding her guilty of corruption in closed-door proceedings, a source familiar with the trial said.
In the first of 11 corruption cases against the 76-year-old Nobel laureate, the judge in the capital Naypyidaw pronounced her guilty minutes after the trial opened, within moments of the court convening, said the source, who declined to be identified for security reasons
The former State Counselor’s lawyers have been barred since October by Myanmar’s military rulers from releasing information or speaking publicly about the two cases being tried.
The junta-controlled court said Aung San Suu Kyi had violated section 55 of the Anti-corruption Law in a case that alleged she accepted 11.4 kg (402 oz) of gold and cash payments totaling $600,000 from former Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein.
She has rejected all allegations, which her supporters, rights groups and foreign governments have condemned as political charges aimed at ending her career.
Aung San Su Kyi, who ruled the country for five years and won re-election in November 2020 in a landslide vote that the army refused to honor, is already serving six years for violating export-import laws, the communications law, and the natural disaster management law.
“Myanmar’s junta and the country’s kangaroo courts are walking in lockstep to put Aung San Suu Kyi away for what could ultimately be the equivalent of a life sentence, given her advanced age,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“This conviction on bogus corruption charges just piles on more years behind bars,” he said in a statement from Bangkok.
“Sadly, there’s more where that came from in the coming months, with many additional trials on other criminal charges to follow,” added Robertson.
According to the Association Assistance for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military regime has handed out more than 1000 sentences among more than 10,300 civilians arrested or detained since the Feb. 1 coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi and her elected government. The junta has killed nearly, 1,800 civilians, the Bangkok-based group says.
Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Written in English by Paul Eckert.