A court in Myanmar has reportedly sentenced former elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a five-year prison term after finding her guilty of the first of 11 corruption charges filed against her by the country’s military junta.
Citing sources with knowledge of the matter, media outlets reported on April 27 that the ruling was announced in Myanmar’s capital of Naypyidaw after the judge issued the verdict within moments of convening the court.
The case, according to the reports, focused on allegations that the 76-year-old Suu Kyi accepted 11.4 kilograms of gold and cash payments totaling $600,000 from her protege-turned-accuser, former Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein.
Her trial, the reports added, was closed to the media, diplomats and spectators, and her lawyers were also prohibited from speaking to the press.
The Western-backed former leader, who denied the charges as “absurd,” led Myanmar for five years prior to being ousted when the military seized power in a February 2021 coup that led to widespread protests and unrest across the Southeast Asian nation in face of a brutal crackdown by police and military forces.
Amid the growing repression of protesters, armed resistance against the military junta escalated, with some United Nations experts characterizing Myanmar as being in a state of civil war.
Suu Kyi, meanwhile, has also been charged with at least 18 other offenses that carry a combined maximum prison term of more than 150 years if she is convicted. She has already been sentenced to six years of imprisonment in earlier cases.
Myanmar’s military leaders claim that the Nobel Laureate—who colluded with them during her tenure as the country’s civilian leader in the killing and brutal displacement of nearly 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims—is on trial for committed crimes and is being given due process by an independent judiciary.
It was not immediately clear if Suu Kyi would be transferred to a prison. She has been held in an undisclosed location, where Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said she could remain after earlier guilty verdicts in other cases.
Since her arrest on the morning of February 1 last year, Suu Kyi has been charged with multiple crimes, from violations of electoral and state secrets laws to incitement and corruption. Her supporters insist that the allegations are trumped up to thwart any chance of her political comeback.
The military takeover of power in Myanmar has also triggered widespread international condemnations.
The restive country was ruled by the military from 1962 until 2011, when Suu Kyi ended the junta rule. (PressTV.ir)