A former leader of Myanmar has been found guilty of corruption.
A Myanmar court sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to an additional seven years behind bars on Friday. The new case has become the last one in a lengthy string of court proceedings the politician has faced after she was overthrown in February 2021 by the military junta.
The conviction brings Suu Kyi’s total prison time to 33 years, including three with hard labor, effectively meaning a life sentence for the 77-year-old. The latest case involved five offenses under the country’s anti-corruption law, a legal official told AP.
Suu Kyi, dubbed a ‘democracy icon’ by the media, has been repeatedly convicted on assorted charges in the aftermath of the coup. The charges she faced have ranged from electoral fraud to illegal smuggling of walkie-talkies into the country. The ousted leader has consistently denied any wrongdoing, insisting the charges against her were absurd and politically motivated.
The politician was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her work to bring democracy to Myanmar. In her time in office, however, she faced human rights abuse allegations herself, particularly over the controversial treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country, described by some experts as a ‘genocide’.
Suu Kyi became the first – and, so far, the only – State Counsellor of Myanmar back in 2016, securing a comfortable re-election for herself and a landslide win for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in late 2020. The alleged widespread fraud during the elections was cited by the military as the pretext for deposing the State Counsellor, with Suu Kyi and her fellow politicians strongly denying all the accusations.
The 2021 coup ended a brief period of civilian rule in Myanmar, which was controlled by the military from the early 1960s to 2011. The coup prompted months-long unrest in the country, with the violence resulting in some 2,000 deaths, according to various watch groups. Thousands of the military government’s opponents ended up jailed, but some 6,000 were released last November during a wide amnesty launched by the authorities.