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Myanmar court jails Aung San Suu Kyi for six more years on corruption charges

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A junta court in Myanmar sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to six years in prison on Monday for corruption, a source close to the case said, bringing the deposed leader’s jail term to 17 years.

Suu Kyi, 77, has been detained since the generals overthrew her government in a coup d’état on February 1 last year, ending a short period of democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

Since then, she has been slammed with a series of charges, including violating the official secrets law, corruption and electoral fraud. She risks decades in prison if convicted on all counts.

Suu Kyi was sentenced to “six years in prison on four corruption charges,” said the source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Each charge carried a maximum of 15 years in prison. Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years for each, but three of the sentences would be served simultaneously, the source said.

She appeared to be in good health and made no statement after the conviction, she added.

A spokesman for the junta could not be reached for comment.

The Nobel laureate had already been sentenced to 11 years in prison for corruption, incitement against the military, violating Covid-19 rules and violating a telecommunications law.

Journalists are not allowed to attend court hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers are not allowed to speak to the media.

The United States labeled the latest conviction an “insult to justice and the rule of law”.

“We call on the regime to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and all those wrongly detained, including other democratically elected officials,” said a foreign ministry spokesman.

The coup sparked widespread protests and unrest, and renewed fighting with established ethnic rebel groups.

Dozens of “People’s Defense Forces” have also emerged to fight the junta and have surprised the military with their effectiveness, analysts say.

More than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the crackdown and some 17,000 have been arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

‘Erase the past’

Suu Kyi has been the face of Myanmar’s democratic hopes for more than 30 years, but her previous 11-year prison sentence meant she was likely to miss the elections the junta says the junta says it will hold by next year.

“The criminal trials of Suu Kyi and her supporters are immune to domestic and international outrage and are intended to erase the democratic past,” independent Myanmar analyst David Mathieson told AFP.

“Their intent is clear to everyone, it seems, everyone except the international community.”

In June, Suu Kyi was transferred from house arrest to a prison in the capital Naypyidaw, where her trial continues in a courthouse in the prison complex.

She remains confined to prison, with her link to the outside world limited to brief pre-trial meetings with lawyers.

Many of its political allies have also been arrested since the coup, with a prime minister sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Last month, the junta brought renewed international condemnation when it executed Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, for violations under counter-terrorism laws.

Suu Kyi learned of the execution during a hearing, said a source with knowledge of the case, but has not yet spoken about the case.

The junta says it seized power after massive fraud during the 2020 elections, in which the NLD defeated an army-backed party, which international observers say were largely free and fair.

(AFP)

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