NAYPYIDAW (Myanmar) – A Myanmar junta court sentenced ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison for corruption on Friday, a legal source told AFP, ending the 18-month trial of the Nobel laureate.
Suu Kyi was jailed on five counts of corruption related to the hiring, purchase and maintaining of a helicopter that had caused a “loss to the state”, the source said.
A prisoner of the military since the 2021 coup, Suu Kyi, 77, has been convicted on every charge levelled against her, ranging from corruption to illegally possessing walkie-talkies and flouting Covid restrictions.
“All her cases were finished and there are no more charges against her,” said the source, who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Suu Kyi – who has now been jailed for 33 years – appeared in good health, the source added.
Journalists have been barred from attending the court hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been banned from speaking to the media.
Since her trial began, she has been seen only once – in grainy state media photos from a bare courtroom – and has been reliant on lawyers to relay messages to the world.
Many in Myanmar’s democracy struggle, which she has dominated for decades, have abandoned her core principle of non-violence, with “People’s Defence Forces” clashing regularly with the military across the country.
Last week the United Nations Security Council called on the junta to release Suu Kyi in its first resolution on the situation in Myanmar since the coup.
It was a moment of relative unity by the council after permanent members and close junta allies China and Russia abstained, opting not to wield vetoes following amendments to the wording.
The military alleged widespread voter fraud during the November 2020 election, won resoundingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, although international observers said the poll was largely free and fair.
The junta has since cancelled the result and said it uncovered more than 11 million instances of voter fraud.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power, ending the Southeast Asian nation’s brief experiment with democracy and sparking huge protests.
The junta has responded with a crackdown that rights groups say includes razing villages, mass extrajudicial killings and airstrikes on civilians.
More than one million people have been displaced since the coup, according to the United Nations children’s agency. – AFP