Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi gets another 6 years in jail: Sources
YANGON (BLOOMBERG) – Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to an additional six years in prison on Monday (August 15) in a ruling that could further anger supporters of the 77-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate .
A special court inside a prison in the capital Naypyidaw found her guilty of four corruption charges linked to a charity named after her late mother, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke undercover anonymity because the procedure is not public.
This is the fourth round of criminal verdicts against Ms Suu Kyi since the military seized power in a 2021 coup and increased her full prison sentence to 17 years, extinguishing any chance that she organizes a political comeback while the junta remains in power.
Mandalay Region High Court Judge Myint San ruled that Ms Suu Kyi had caused the state to lose more than 24.2 billion kyat (S$16 million) by leasing land in Naypyidaw to build the headquarters and related projects of the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity that has supported public health and education, at a price cheaper than the rate set by the Internal Revenue Department, according to people familiar with the record and state media.
Previous convictions have sparked public anger and intensified armed resistance led by the shadow government of national unity. Junta troops have killed nearly 2,200 civilians and arrested more than 15,000 others since the coup, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, which said this month that prisoners across the country were suffering of human rights violations.
The junta had accused the ousted leader of misusing public donations to the foundation to build her residence in Naypyidaw and accepting bribes worth US$550,000 (S$757,000). businessman as a donation to the charity in 2019 and 2020. Ms Suu Kyi has denied all allegations and pleaded ‘not guilty’.
Three other senior officials, including deposed Naypyidaw mayor Myo Aung and his deputy Ye Min Oo, were sentenced to three years in prison each on the same charges, the person said. Major General Zaw Min Tun, senior spokesman for the ruling State Administrative Council, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the decision.
Earlier, Ms Suu Kyi was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison by the same court on six counts, including illegal importation and possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies, violation of Covid-19 rules, 19 and incitement to dissent against the army. She called the allegations “absurd”, while her supporters say the accusations are politically motivated.
The national democracy icon was moved from her residence to an unknown location ahead of the start of her first trial behind closed doors at a state-owned compound in June 2021. A year later, she was moved to a military-built solitary unit in Naypyidaw prison. Journalists are not allowed to attend the trial and Ms. Suu Kyi’s lawyers are not allowed to speak to the media.
Ms Suu Kyi faces nine other charges, including breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and abusing her power to ensure her political party wins the 2020 election. If convicted , the remaining charges could add a maximum of 122 more years to his sentence if served consecutively.
The United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Myanmar military generals and supporters since the coup. Even other member states of the Asean regional bloc have been reluctant to cooperate with Myanmar after the junta executed four pro-democracy activists in its first use of the death penalty in more than three decades.
Last week, ASEAN foreign ministers said in a joint statement that they were “deeply disappointed” by the limited progress and lack of commitment by the Myanmar authorities to the prompt and full implementation of a five-point consensus agreed earlier by General Min Aung Hlaing, the military leader who seized power in the 2021 coup.