YANGON: A Myanmar junta court jailed Aung San Suu Kyi for six years for corruption on Monday, a source close to the case said, taking the ousted leader’s prison time to 17 years.
Suu Kyi, 77, has been detained since the generals toppled her government in a coup on February 1 last year, ending the Southeast Asian country’s brief period of democracy. She has since been hit with a series of charges, including violating the official secrets act, corruption and electoral fraud. She faces decades in jail if convicted on all counts.
She was sentenced to “six years’ imprisonment under four anti-corruption charges”, said the source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Each charge carried a maximum of 15 years in jail. Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years for each, but three of the sentences would be served concurrently, the source said.
US slams latest sentencing as ‘affront to justice’; EU calls for her immediate release
She appeared in good health and did not make any statement following the sentencing, the source added.
A junta spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The Nobel laureate had already been sentenced to 11 years in jail for corruption, incitement against the military, breaching Covid-19 rules and breaking a telecommunications law.
Journalists have been barred from attending the court hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been banned from speaking to the media.
The US slammed the latest sentencing as an “affront to justice and the rule of law”.
“We call on the regime to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those unjustly detained, including other democratically elected officials,” a State Department spokesperson said.
“The Burma military regime’s unjust arrest, conviction, and sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is an affront to justice and the rule of law,” a State Department spokesperson said, using the country’s former name.
Also, EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the “unjust” sentencing of Suu Kyi and called for her immediate release. “I condemn the unjust sentence of Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional six years of detention,” Borrell wrote on Twitter, calling on the Myanmar regime to “immediately and unconditionally release her”.
He also urged the Asian nation’s military junta to release “all political prisoners, and respect the will of the people”.
The coup sparked widespread protests and unrest, and renewed fighting with established ethnic rebel groups.
Dozens of “People’s Defence Forces” have also sprung up to fight the junta and have surprised the military with their effectiveness, analysts say.
According to a local monitoring group, the crackdown has left more than 2,000 civilians dead and seen some 17,000 arrested.
Suu Kyi has been the face of Myanmar’s democratic hopes for more than 30 years, but her earlier 11-year sentence already meant she was likely to miss elections the junta says it plans to hold by next year.
She remains confined to the jail, with her link to the outside world limited to brief pre-trial meetings with lawyers.
Many of her political allies have also been arrested since the coup, with one chief minister sentenced to 75 years in jail.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2022