Myanmar court jails Aung San Suu Kyi for extra seven years for corruption

Aung San Suu Kyi  (REUTERS)
Aung San Suu Kyi (REUTERS)

Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been handed seven more years in jail for alleged corruption.

The military junta which took power in a coup in 2021 has now jailed Ms Suu Kyi for a total of 33 years, in proceedings widely condemned as a sham.

On Friday, she was found guilty on five charges of corruption relating to the misuse of state funds for the purchase and lease of a helicopter.

Ms Suu Kyi, 77, has also been convicted of several other offences, including illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, breaching the country’s official secrets act, sedition and election fraud.

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

Ms Suu Kyi is alleged to have caused a loss of state funds by failing to follow financial regulations when giving permission to her former cabinet member Win Myat Aye to hire an aircraft.

A legal official said Ms 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.

She denied all charges and is expected to appeal in the coming days.

Ms Suu Kyi led Myanmar for five years from 2015 after the military ended its 49-year rule in 2011, only for it to take back control early last year to stop her elected government from starting a second term.

Her supporters say the numerous charges against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimise the military’s seizure of power and eliminate her from politics before an election next year.