Suu Kyi on Friday is jailed for seven years on five counts of corruption related to the hiring, maintaining, and purchase of a helicopter for a government minister, a case in which she allegedly caused “a loss to the state”. “All her cases were finished and there are no more charges against her,” AFP reported citing the source, on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been blocked from speaking to the media and journalists are barred from attending the hearings. The road leading to the prison holding Suu Kyi in the military-built capital Naypyidaw was clear of traffic ahead of the verdict, as reported by an AFP correspondent in the city.
Former Myanmar president Win Myint, who was co-accused with Suu Kyi in the latest trial, received the same sentence, the source told AFP, adding that both would appeal. Since her trial began, Suu Kyi has been seen only once — in grainy state media photos from a bare courtroom — and has been reliant on lawyers to relay messages to the world.
Last week the United Nations Security Council called on the junta to release Suu Kyi in its first resolution on the situation in Myanmar since the coup. It was a moment of relative unity by the council after permanent members and junta allies China and Russia abstained, opting not to wield vetoes following amendments to the wording.
Htwe Thein, an associate professor at Curtin University in Australia termed the corruption charges “ridiculous”. “Nothing in Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership, governance, or lifestyle indicates the smallest hint of corruption,” she said. “The question now will be what to do with Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Richard Horsey of the International Crisis Group.
“Whether to allow her to serve out her sentence under some form of house arrest, or grant foreign envoys limited access to her. “But the regime is unlikely to be in any rush to make such decisions.” The military alleged widespread voter fraud during elections in November 2020 that were won resoundingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), though international observers said the polls were largely free and fair.
The junta has since canceled the result and said it uncovered more than 11 million instances of voter fraud. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power, ending the Southeast Asian nation’s brief experiment with democracy and sparking huge protests.
The junta has responded with a crackdown that rights groups say includes razing villages, mass extrajudicial killings, and airstrikes on civilians. More than one million people have been displaced since the coup, according to the United Nations children’s agency.