Burmese Court Convicts Aung San Suu Kyi, Adds Six More Years to Prison

BANGKOK—A court in military-ruled Burma (also known as Myanmar) on Monday convicted the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi on further corruption charges and sentenced her to 11 years in prison. plus six years, legal officials said.

The trial was held behind closed doors, closed to the media and the public, and her lawyer was barred by gag order from revealing information about the proceedings.

In four corruption cases decided on Monday, Suu Kyi was alleged to have abused her position to rent public land at below market prices and to build her residence with charitable donations. She was sentenced to her three years in prison for each of her four counts, three of which were served simultaneously, giving a total of six years in prison.

She has denied all charges and her attorney plans to appeal.

She had been sentenced to 11 years in prison in a previous trial for sedition, corruption and other charges after the military overthrew her elected government in February 2021 and detained her.

Analysts say the numerous indictments against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimize the military’s grip on power while removing her from politics before the military holds promised elections next year. Says.

Suu Kyi and her co-defendants have denied all allegations and their lawyers plan to appeal soon, legal officials said.

Other top members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and her government have also been arrested and imprisoned, with authorities suggesting they may dissolve the party before the next election. The Political Prisoners Assistance Association said more than 12,000 people were detained after being detained by security forces.

“The more the Terrorist Military Council deliberately imprisons the people’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on various arbitrary charges, the more determined the people are to overthrow the military dictator,” said Suu Kyi’s party. said Tung Min, a member of the Underground Central Working Committee. .

The military seized power on 1 February 2021, the day her party began its second five-year term after a landslide victory in the November 2020 general elections. I have detained Suu Kyi. The military said it acted because there was mass voter fraud, but independent election observers found no serious irregularities.

The military takeover sparked peaceful nationwide street protests, which security forces put down with deadly force, sparking armed resistance in what some UN experts now consider a civil war. They have been accused of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and killings, torture, and military mopping-up, including airstrikes on civilians and burning of entire villages.

The Political Prisoners Assistance Association says it has confirmed 2,191 pro-democracy activists and other civilians killed in the military crackdown, though the actual total is likely higher.

Suu Kyi, 77, has stood against Myanmar’s military government for more than three decades. She won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize while she was under her house arrest.

Her five years as leader of the civilian government were marked by repression and military rule in what was Myanmar’s most democratic era since the 1962 coup.

Suu Kyi has been charged with a total of 11 charges under the Anti-Corruption Act, each carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine.

At Monday’s ruling, a judicial official said Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years in prison for building her own residence in Naypyidaw. The money was allegedly donated to a charity named after his mother, chaired by Suu Kyi.

The official said she was sentenced to three years in prison for using her position to rent property in Yangon, the country’s largest city, for the same foundation.

Two other lawsuits decided on Monday involved land parcels in Nay Pyi Taw that allegedly abused the foundation’s power to rent below market prices. Each was sentenced to three years in prison.

Three cases of crime in Naypyidaw are to be tried simultaneously.

The former mayor of Nay Pyi Taw, Myo Aung, was a co-defendant in both cases related to the granting of land lease permits. The former deputy mayor Ye Min Oo is a co-defendant in one of his cases, and his other co-defendant in another case is Min Thu, a former member of his Naypyitaw Development Committee. In each he was sentenced to three years in prison.

The government’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which filed the lawsuit, claimed that the rental agreement robbed the state of revenue because the rent agreed upon by the Nay Pyi Taw Development Commission was lower than the rate set by the Ministry of Planning and Finance. should have received.

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fonteles, called for Suu Kyi’s immediate release.

“I condemn the unjust sentence of Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional six years of detention and demand the #Myanmar regime to immediately and unconditionally release her and all political prisoners. , I ask you to respect the will of the people,” he tweeted.