Thursday, January 26, 2023

Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi of corruption

BANGKOK ( Associated Press) — A Myanmar court on Friday found the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of corruption and sentenced her to seven years in prison, the latest in a series of criminal cases against her, a court official said.

The court’s decision gives him a total of 33 years in prison to serve after a series of politically charged trials since the military overthrew his elected government in February 2021.

The case, which ended on Friday, involved five offenses under the anti-corruption law and seven other offenses following a previous conviction on corruption charges, each with up to 15 years in prison and a fine.

He has also been convicted of other offences, including the illegal import and possession of walkie-talkies, breach of coronavirus restrictions, breach of the country’s official secrets law, sedition and election fraud.

All of his previous convictions had jailed him for a total of 26 years.

Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent analysts say the many charges against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimize the military junta’s takeover, while removing her from the political spectrum ahead of next year’s election.

The five corruption charges settled on Friday accused Suu Kyi of abusing her position and failing to comply with financial rules by allowing her to hire Win Myat Ae, a cabinet member from her previous government. Buy and maintain helicopters.

Suu Kyi was the de facto head of government with the title of State Councillor. Win Myint, who was the chairman of his government, was a co-defendant in the same case.

Friday’s verdict, in a purpose-built courtroom at the main prison outside the capital, was pronounced by a judicial officer, who insisted on anonymity for fear of being reprimanded by authorities. The trial was held behind closed doors to media, diplomats and onlookers, and his lawyers were barred from discussing it by a gag order.

The judicial official said Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years for each of the four counts, to be served concurrently, and four years for the helicopter purchase charge, for a total of seven years. Vin Myint was also sentenced to the same sentence.

The defendants deny all charges, and their lawyers are expected to appeal in the coming days.

The end of legal proceedings against Suu Kyi, at least for now, raises the prospect that she will be allowed to receive visitors from abroad, something she has been denied since her arrest.

The ruling military junta has repeatedly rejected requests to meet with it, including from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which wanted to help mediate an end to the Myanmar crisis, which has been criticized by some UN experts. A civil war caused by armed opposition is called. to the military junta.

Nation World News Desk
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