Aung San Suu Kyi jailed for another seven years as Myanmar court finds her guilty of corruption

Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted aftera  trial  condemned internationally as a sham (AP)
Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted aftera trial condemned internationally as a sham (AP)

Aung San Suu Kyi has been jailed for seven more years after a Myanmar court found her guilty of corruption.

In a court session held behind closed doors, the 77 year-old was found guilty of offences several offences relating to her lease and use of a helicopter while she was Myanmar’s de facto leader.

She has also been convicted for illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, breaching the country’s official secrets act, sedition and election fraud.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner for her decades-long campaign for democracy, she has spent a significant part of her political life in detention.

Suu Kyi led the country for five years from 2015, bringing an end to 49-yea military rule, only for it to wrest back control last year.

Friday’s verdict adds to prison sentences of at least 26 years handed down since the Junta toppled her elected government in February 2021.

Suu Kyi has already been convicted of a range of offences in the past 13 months, all of which have been described as absurd.

A Burmese protester holds a photo of Suu Kyi during a demonstration outside the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok (AFP via Getty Images)
A Burmese protester holds a photo of Suu Kyi during a demonstration outside the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok (AFP via Getty Images)

Western countries have dismissed the trials as a sham, and independent analysts say that the charges are designed to legitimise military seizure which has been facing widespread resistance to its rule.

The junta has, however, insisted the charges are legitimate and that she has been given due process by an independent court.

In the five counts of corruption decided Friday, Suu Kyi was alleged to have abused her position and caused a loss of state funds by neglecting to follow financial regulations in granting permission to Win Myat Aye, a cabinet member in her former government, to hire, buy and maintain a helicopter.

Suu Kyi, 77, has 33 years more to serve behind bars (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Suu Kyi, 77, has 33 years more to serve behind bars (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Suu Kyi was the de facto head of government, holding the title of state counsellor. Win Myint, who was president in her government, was a co-defendant in the same case.

Today’s verdict in the purpose-built courtroom in the main prison on the outskirts of the capital, Naypyitaw, was made known by a legal official who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities.

The trial was closed to the media, diplomats and spectators, and her lawyers were barred by a gag order from talking about it.

The legal official said Suu Kyi received sentences of three years for each of four charges, to be served concurrently, and four years for the charge related to the helicopter purchase, for a total of seven years. Win Myint received the same sentences.

The two are likely to appeal against the conviction, reported the Associated Press.

Additional reporting from the wires