Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi found guilty on first corruption charge and sentenced to five years in prison

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A court in Myanmar has found ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of corruption and sentenced her to five years in prison.

The case was the first of 11 corruption charges brought against the 76-year-old Nobel laureate, each carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

She has been detained since the country’s generals seized power in a February 2021 coup, putting an end to the country’s brief period of democracy.

The judge in the national capital Naypyitaw handed down the verdict within moments of the court convening.

The case against Suu Kyi revolves around allegations that she accepted 11.4kg of gold and cash payments totalling $600,000 from her top political colleague and former Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein.

She denied the allegations as “absurd”.

While her supporters and independent legal experts rallied behind her and called the trials farcical, the military claims to have given her due process by an independent judiciary.

It was not immediately clear if Suu Kyi would be moved to a prison. Since her ousting, she has been held in an undisclosed location where junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said she could remain after earlier guilty verdicts in other cases.

She has already been sentenced to six years in prison in a separate case and faces 10 more corruption charges.

The maximum sentence under the Anti-Corruption Act is up to 15 years in prison and if convicted of all charges, she could face a jail term of over 100 years.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party had won a landslide victory in the 2020 general election. However, the elected lawmakers were not allowed to take their seats as the army seized power on 1 February 2021, arresting Suu Kyi and many of her senior colleagues after accusing them of massive electoral fraud.

Additional reporting by agencies

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