A military-run Myanmar court on Wednesday sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in prison after convicting her in the first of 11 corruption cases she faces, a source familiar with the matter said. the procedure.
The Nobel laureate and leading figure in Myanmar’s opposition to military rule is charged with at least 18 offenses carrying combined maximum prison terms of nearly 190 years, nearly killing any chance of a political comeback.
Capital Judge Naypyidaw delivered the verdict moments after the court was called and gave no explanation, said the source, who declined to be identified as the trial is being held behind closed doors, with restricted information.
Suu Kyi, who attended all of her hearings, was unhappy with the outcome and would appeal, the source said.
Deported in February 2021
The 76-year-old ruled Myanmar for five years, during a short period of provisional democracy, before being ousted from power in a February 2021 coup by the military, which ruled the country. former British colony for five of the past six decades.
It was not immediately clear whether Suu Kyi would be transferred to a prison to serve her sentence.
Since her arrest, she has been held at an undisclosed location, where junta leader Min Aung Hlaing previously said she could stay after convictions in December and January for relatively minor offenses that led to a six-month sentence. years.
Military government spokesman Zaw Min Tun could not be reached for comment and made no mention of Suu Kyi’s decision on Wednesday during a televised press conference that lasted more than three hours. and a half.
The latest case centered on accusations that Suu Kyi accepted 11.4 kilograms of gold and cash payments totaling US$600,000 from her protege turned accuser, Phyo Min Thein, the former chief minister of Yangon city.
Suu Kyi had called the charges “absurd” and denies all charges against her, including violations of election and state secrets laws, incitement and bribery.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Suu Kyi’s days as a free woman were effectively over.
“Myanmar’s junta and the country’s kangaroo courts are working together to free Aung San Suu Kyi from what could ultimately be the equivalent of a life sentence, given her advanced age.” he declared.
“Destroying popular democracy in Myanmar also means getting rid of Aung San Suu Kyi, and the junta leaves nothing to chance.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, with the military using lethal force to quell nationwide protests and public anger. Tens of thousands of people have been arrested and many have been killed, tortured and beaten, in what the United Nations has called crimes against humanity.
The international community has imposed sanctions on the military and called Suu Kyi’s trials far-fetched. Myanmar’s embassies in the UK and US did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The military said Suu Kyi had committed crimes and was given due process by an independent judiciary and dismissed foreign criticism as interference.
The junta refused to allow his visits, including by a special envoy from Southeast Asia trying to end the crisis.
On Twitter, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah expressed deep concern over the sentencing, calling for “basic principles of human rights and justice to be guaranteed”.
Nay Phone Latt, a former official of Suu Kyi’s ousted ruling party, said the court rulings were temporary as military rule would not last long.
“We do not recognize the decisions, the legislation or the judiciary of the terrorist junta,” said Nay Phone Latt, who belongs to the national unity shadow government, which has declared a popular revolt against military rule.
“I don’t care how long their sentence is, whether it’s a year, two years or whatever they want. It won’t last.”