Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar court extends prison sentence to 33 years
A military-run Myanmar court has sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison for corruption, a source familiar with the case told CNN, ending a series of secretive and highly politicized proceedings against the ousted former leader. .
Friday’s ruling is the final sentence handed down to the 77-year-old, a democratically elected opposition figure to decades of military rule who ruled Myanmar for five years before being forced from power in a violent coup at the beginning of of 2021.
The ruling on Friday found Suu Kyi guilty of corruption related to the purchase, repair and leasing of a helicopter for use during natural disasters and state affairs, including rescue and emergencies, the source said.
She now faces a total of 33 years in prison, including three years of hard labour, the source said, meaning she could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
According to the sources, Suu Kyi has previously been convicted of numerous offences, including election fraud and bribery.
She has denied all the charges brought against her, according to the source, and her lawyers have said they are politically motivated.
She is being held in solitary confinement in a prison in the capital Naypyidaw and her trials have been held behind closed doors, with limited information reported by state media and a gag order placed on her lawyers.
Myanmar has been wracked by violence and economic paralysis since the military stepped in to prevent Suu Kyi from forming a new government, three months after her party was re-elected in a landslide election against the military-backed opposition.
Meanwhile, rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the punishment of pro-democracy activists in the country since the military took power.
“The sanctions are intended to permanently sideline (Suu Kyi), as well as to undermine and ultimately negate the landslide victory of her NLD (National League for Democracy) party in the November 2020 elections,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. . in a statement on Friday.
“From start to finish, the junta grabbed everything it could to make a case against it in full confidence that the country’s kangaroo courts would return whatever punitive verdict the military wanted.”
Last week, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called on the military junta to release all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi and former president Win Myint, in the first resolution passed on the Southeast Asian country since his independence.
In the two years since the military took power, freedoms and rights in Myanmar have deteriorated significantly. State executions are back and thousands of people have been arrested for protesting against military rule.
In November, the junta released more than 6,000 prisoners under an amnesty, state media reported, including a former British ambassador, an Australian economist and a Japanese journalist.
The pardons came after strong criticism of the junta at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.