Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi: On Wednesday, a court in military-ruled Myanmar convicted and sentenced Myanmar’s former leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to five years in prison in the first of several corruption cases against her.
Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Suu Kyi is widely admired at home for her role in the country’s pro-democracy movement, and she has long been regarded as an icon of that struggle abroad, as evidenced by her years under house arrest.
She has also been chastised for deferring to the military while ignoring and, at times, defending human rights violations, most notably a 2017 crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, which rights groups have called genocide.
While she has stated that the army did not kill Rohingya civilians, set fire to their homes, or rape women, her reputation has suffered.
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Recently, a Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi of corruption.
Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi and was sentenced to five more years in prison in Myanmar, this time for alleged corruption. Suu Kyi was detained by Myanmar’s military following the coup last year. The military regime has charged her with a number of offenses.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s complicated relationship with the law
Suu Kyi was deposed as a result of an army coup last year. She stated that she did not accept gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars as a bribe from one of her top political allies.
Prosecutors want to discredit Suu Kyi, make the military’s takeover of power appear legitimate, and keep the 76-year-old elected leader out of politics. Her supporters, as well as independent legal experts, believe her prosecution is unjust.
Suu Kyi, Aung San’s daughter, rose to prominence during a failed uprising against a previous military regime in 1988 when she helped found the National League for Democracy party.
For leading a nonviolent democratic struggle that earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she was imprisoned for 15 of the next 21 years. When the army finally allowed elections in 2015, her party won by a landslide, and she was declared de facto president. Her party received a more significant majority in the 2020 elections.
The charges after Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi
Suu Kyi has already served six years in prison in other cases and is currently facing ten additional corruption charges. The maximum penalty under the Anti-Corruption Act is 15 years in prison and a fine. In the other cases, if found guilty, a person could face more than 100 years in prison.
“These charges will have no credibility outside of the junta’s stacked courts (and the military’s supporters”),” said Moe Thuzar, a fellow at Singapore’s Yusof Ishak Institute, a Southeast Asian studies center, even if there were legitimate concerns or complaints about corruption by any member of a democratically elected government, a coup and enforced military rule are not the way to address such concerns.
On Wednesday, a legal official who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to do so announced the verdict. Suu Kyi’s trial in the capital, Naypyitaw, was closed to the media, diplomats, and observers, and her lawyers were not allowed to speak to the press.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party easily won the 2020 general election. Still, lawmakers could not take their seats when the army seized power on February 1, 2021, arresting the former leader Suu Kyi and many senior colleagues in her party and government.
The army claimed it was acting because of widespread election fraud, but independent election observers found no significant issues.
Several cases involving the purchase and rental of a helicopter by one of her former Cabinet ministers are among the nine other issues currently under investigation under the Anti-Corruption Act. Each violation of the law is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine.
Suu Kyi is also accused of abusing her position to obtain below-market rental properties for a foundation named after her mother and diverting funds intended for charitable donations to build a house.
Suu Kyi has been accused of doing things that cost the government money. According to the state Anti-Corruption Commission, several of them did.
Another bribery charge has yet to be tried against her.
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Suu Kyi is also charged with violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, and election fraud, which has a maximum sentence of three years in jail.