A court in Myanmar jails the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another 7 years, ending the case against her

Myanmar Suu Kyi ruling
Myanmar’s then State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi reviews an honor guard at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 30, 2019.

Heng Sinith/AP

Bangkok – A court in military-ruled Myanmar on Friday convicted the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi of corruption and sentenced her to seven years in prison in the latest in a series of criminal cases against her, a judicial official said.

The court’s lawsuit gives her a total of 33 years in prison after a series of politically-tinged charges since the army overthrew their elected government in February 2021.

The case, which ended on Friday, involved five offenses under the Anti-Corruption Act and followed previous convictions in seven other corruption cases, each carrying up to 15 years in prison and a fine.

Suu Kyi, 77, was also convicted of several other offenses, including illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, violating the country’s official secrets law, sedition and voter fraud.

All of her previous convictions had earned her a total of 26 years in prison.

Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent analysts say the numerous indictments against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimize the military’s takeover of power and eliminate her from politics ahead of next year’s promised elections.

In the five corruption cases decided on Friday, Suu Kyi is said to have abused her position and caused a loss of government funds by failing to comply with financial regulations when granting permission to Win Myat Aye, a cabinet member of her previous government , set. Buy and service helicopters.

Suu Kyi was the de facto head of government and held the title of state adviser. Win Myint, who was President of her government, was a co-defendant in the same case.

Friday’s verdict in the purpose-built courtroom at the main jail on the outskirts of the capital Naypyitaw was delivered by a court official who insisted on anonymity for fear of punishment by the authorities. The trial was closed to the media, diplomats and onlookers, and her lawyers were gagged from speaking about it.

The judicial officer said Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years for each of the four concurrent charges and four years for the helicopter-buying charge, for a total of seven years. Win Myint received the same sentences.

The defendants have denied all allegations and their lawyers are expected to appeal in the coming days.

The end of Suu Kyi’s trial opens up the possibility, at least for now, that she will be allowed outside visitors, which she has been denied since her incarceration.

The military government has repeatedly turned down all requests to meet with it, including those from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations trying to broker an end to the crisis in Myanmar, which some UN experts have described as a civil war because of the armed opposition military rule.

The UN said after a meeting in August of its special envoy Noeleen Heyzer with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, head of Myanmar’s military-installed government, that he “agreed to arrange a meeting between her and Suu Kyi at the appropriate time.” . .

A statement from the military government said: “Depending on the circumstances, we will consider how to proceed after the trial is complete.”

Suu Kyi is currently being held in a newly constructed separate building of Naypyitaw Prison near the courthouse where her trial took place, with three policewomen on duty to assist her.

Granting access to Suu Kyi has been one of the main demands of many international critics of Myanmar’s military rulers, who have faced diplomatic and political sanctions for their human rights abuses and suppression of democracy.

State-controlled media reported last year that Win Myat Aye, the figure at the center of the corruption case that ended Friday, only used the chartered helicopter 84.95 hours between 2019 and 2021 but paid for a total of 720 flight hours, resulting in one Loss of more than $3.5 million in funds.

State-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said he also allegedly failed to follow official procedures when purchasing the state-run helicopter, resulting in a further loss of 23 billion Myanmar kyat ($11 million).

Win Myat Aye is now Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the Government of National Unity, set up as a parallel administration by elected lawmakers who were barred from taking their seats when the military took power last year. The military has declared the NUG a banned “terrorist organization”.

Suu Kyi, the daughter of Myanmar’s martyred independence hero General Aung San, spent almost 15 years as a political prisoner under house arrest between 1989 and 2010.

Her fierce resistance to military rule in Myanmar made her a symbol of the non-violent struggle for democracy and earned her the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

Her National League for Democracy party first came to power after easily winning the 2015 general election and ushering in true civilian government for the first time since a 1962 military coup.

But after Suu Kyi came to power, she was criticized for showing deference to the military while ignoring atrocities they were credibly accused of 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Her National League for Democracy won another landslide victory in the 2020 election, but less than three months later, elected lawmakers were barred from taking their seats in Parliament and top members of her government and party were arrested.

The army said it acted because of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election, but independent poll observers found no major irregularities.

Triggered the takeover by the army in 2021 widespread peaceful protests which the security forces tried to destroy with deadly force and which soon erupted in armed resistance.

Protests continue in Myanmar
Demonstrators gather and show the three-fingered pro-democracy salute in Sule Square February 22, 2021 in downtown Yangon, Myanmar.

Hkun Lat/Getty

Myanmar security forces have killed at least 2,685 civilians and arrested 16,651, according to a detailed list compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an NGO that tracks killings and arrests.

Last Wednesday, the UN Security Council, in its first resolution on the situation in Myanmar since the army took power, called on Myanmar’s military rulers to release all “arbitrarily detained” prisoners, including Suu Kyi.

The UN resolution also calls for an immediate end to the violence in Myanmar and calls on all parties in the country to work towards engaging in dialogue and reconciliation with the aim of finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Myanmar’s foreign ministry said the situation in the Southeast Asian country was purely domestic and did not pose a threat to world peace and security.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/aung-san-suu-kyi-myanmar-court-7-more-years-corruption-conviction-capping-proceedings-against-her/ A court in Myanmar jails the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another 7 years, ending the case against her

Rick Schindler

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