A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in prison on Wednesday after finding her guilty in the first of 11 corruption cases against her, according to a source with knowledge of proceedings.
The Nobel laureate, who led Myanmar for five years before being forced into power in a coup in early 2021, has been charged with 18 offenses, which carry combined maximum prison terms of nearly 190 years if convicted in all.
The judge in the capital Naypyitaw handed down the verdict within a few moments of the court convening, according to the source who refused to be identified because the trial is being held behind closed doors with information restricted.
It was not immediately clear whether Suu Kyi, 76, the figurehead of Myanmar's struggle against military dictatorship, would be transferred to a prison to serve the sentence.
She has been held in an unidentified location where junta chief Min Aung Hlaing previously said she could remain after earlier convictions in December and January for comparatively minor offenses, for which she has been sentenced to six years altogether.
A military spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Suu Kyi accepted 11.4 kilograms of 402 ounces of gold and cash payments totaling $600,000 from her protege-turned-against the former chief minister of Yangon, Phyo Min Thein, the latest case was centered on allegations that Suu Kyi, a former chief minister of Yangon, accepted 11.4 kilograms of 402 ounces of gold and cash payments.
Nay Phone Latt, a former official in Suu Kyi's ousted ruling party, said any court decisions were temporary because military rule wouldn't last long.
We do not recognize the rulings of the judiciary or the terrorist junta. The people don't acknowledge them either, said Nay Phone Latt, who is with a shadow National Unity Government NUG that has declared a people's revolt against military rule.
I don't care how long a sentence is, whether it's a year, two years or whatever they want to be. This won't last. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup and the international community has dismissed the trials as farcical and demanded Suu Kyi's release.
The junta has refused to allow her visits, including by a special Southeast Asian envoy trying to end the crisis.
Suu Kyi is being tried by the military because she committed crimes and is being given due process by an independent judiciary. It has rejected international criticism as interference in a sovereign nation's affairs.
The embassies in Myanmar of the United States and Britain did not respond immediately to requests for comment on Wednesday s verdict.
Since her arrest on the morning of the Feb. 1 coup last year, Suu Kyi has been charged with multiple crimes, from violations of state secrets laws to incitement and corruption, accusations her supporters say are trumped up to kill off any chance of a political comeback.