Myanmar's Suu Kyi gets 5 years for corruption

Myanmar's Suu Kyi gets 5 years for corruption

A Myanmar junta court sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in jail for corruption, part of a barrage of criminal cases that could see the deposed civilian leader jailed for decades.

Suu Kyi has been in military custody since a military coup ousted her government in February of last year, plunging Myanmar into an upheaval.

In the latest case, the Nobel laureate was accused of accepting a bribe of $600,000 cash and gold bars.

After two days of delays, the special court in the military-built capital Naypyidaw handed down its verdict and sentence on Wednesday at 9: 30 am 0300 GMT.

The court sentenced her five years of imprisonment for taking gold and dollars from U Phyo Min Thein, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

She will be under house arrest. I am not sure if she asked for an appeal. They are working according to the legal way. She faces a number of criminal charges, including violating the official secrets act, corruption and electoral fraud, and could be jailed for more than 100 years if convicted on all counts.

The 76-year-old had already been sentenced to six years in jail for incitement against the military, breaching Covid 19 rules and breaking a telecommunications law - although she will remain under house arrest while she fights other charges.

Journalists have been barred from speaking to the media and Suu Kyi's lawyers have been banned from speaking to the media.

Suu Kyi was forced to miss three days of hearings last month after being quarantined because of a Covid 19 case among her staff.

Suu Kyi spent long spells under house arrest in her family mansion in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, under a previous junta regime.

She is confined to an unidentified location in the capital, with her link to the outside world limited to brief pre-trial meetings with her lawyers.

The coup sparked widespread protests and unrest that the military tried to crush by force.

The crackdown has left more than 1,700 civilians dead and around 13,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

Suu Kyi has been the face of the democratic hopes of Myanmar for more than 30 years, but her earlier six-year sentence has already made her likely to miss the elections the junta plans to hold by next year.

Independent Myanmar analyst David Mathieson said that the junta was using the criminal cases to make Suu Kyi politically irrelevant. This is just another squalid step in solidifying the coup.

This is pure and simple political motivation. Since the coup, many of her political allies have been arrested, with one chief minister sentenced to 75 years in jail, while others have been forced into hiding.

A tranche of deposed lawmakers from her National League for Democracy NLD formed a parallel National Unity Government NUG in a bid to undermine the legitimacy of the junta.

The NUG has no territory and has not been recognized by any foreign government.

Numerous People's Defence Force PDF civilian militias have sprung up around the country to take the fight to the junta.

Analysts say that the heavily armed, well-trained army of Myanmar has been surprised by the effectiveness of the PDFs and in some areas has struggled to contain them.

Last week junta supremo Min Aung Hlaing called for peace talks with Myanmar's long-established ethnic rebel groups - which control large areas of territory and have been battling the military for decades.

The turmoil that has engulfed Myanmar in the wake of the coup has spooked foreign investors who have flocked to the country after the dawn of democracy around 2011.

TotalEnergies and Chevron, British American Tobacco and Japanese brewer Kirin have all announced plans to pull out.