Myanmar junta court hits Aung San Suu Kyi with five new corruption charges

Myanmar junta court hits Aung San Suu Kyi with five new corruption charges

Sources close to the case said that a Myanmar junta court has hit civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi with five new corruption charges related to the alleged rental and purchase of a helicopter.

A 76-year-old Nobel laureate has been in jail since a February coup last year that triggered mass protests and a bloody crackdown on dissent, with more than 1,400 civilians killed, according to a local monitoring group.

Suu Kyi is facing a raft of criminal and corruption charges - including violations of the country's official secrets laws - and if convicted of all of them could lead to sentences of more than 100 years in prison.

The charges against Suu Kyi were related to the hire, maintenance, and purchase of a helicopter, according to the sources.

The former Myanmar President U Win Myint was also hit with the same charges, they said.

In December, the newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said the couple would be prosecuted for not following financial regulations and causing a loss to the state over the rent and purchase of a helicopter for former government minister Win Myat Aye.

He rented a helicopter from 2019 to 2021 and used it for only 84.95 hours out of 720 rental hours, the paper said.

He is now in hiding along with other former lawmakers.

Suu Kyi was convicted on Monday of three criminal charges related to illegally importing and owning walkie talkies and breaking coronaviruses.

She was sentenced to four years in prison.

She received a two-year jail sentence for inciting the military and other coronaviruses violations in December.

Suu Kyi will likely be unable to participate in the new elections that the military junta has vowed to hold by August 2023 because of the six years of jail time.

Suu Kyi is expected to remain under house arrest as the other legal cases progress.

Journalists have been banned from speaking to the media after being barred from attending special court hearings in Naypyidaw.

Suu Kyi, the daughter of an independence hero, spent nearly two decades enduring long stretches of house arrest under the former military regime.

In 2017 her time in office was marred by her government handling the Rohingya refugee crisis, in which hundreds of thousands fled to Bangladesh as they faced rapes, arson and extrajudicial killings at the hands of the Myanmar military.

Before the coup, Suu Kyi was on the cusp of a five-year term as the country's leader after the National League for Democracy won a landslide in November 2020 polls.