- The latest verdict extends Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentence to 33 years.
- Suu Kyi has been a military prisoner since the 2021 coup and has been convicted of every charge against her.
- The 77-year-old wants to appeal against the recent verdicts.
A junta court in Myanmar concluded its trial of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, a legal source told AFP. The Nobel laureate was sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison.
Suu Kyi, 77, a military prisoner since the 2021 coup, has been convicted on every charge against her, ranging from corruption to illegal possession of walkie-talkies to flouting Covid restrictions.
On Friday, she was found guilty of five counts of corruption related to the rental, purchase and maintenance of a helicopter that caused a “loss to the state,” the source said.
“All her cases have been closed and there are no more charges against her,” said the source, who requested anonymity as she was not authorized to speak to the media.
Suu Kyi – who was sentenced to 33 years in prison after an 18-month trial that human rights groups dismissed as a sham – appears in good health, the source added.
Journalists were banned from attending the court hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers were banned from speaking to the media.
The road leading to Suu Kyi prison in the military-built capital Naypyidaw was closed to traffic ahead of the sentencing, an AFP correspondent in the city said.
Suu Kyi would appeal the recent sentences, the source said.
A Myanmar migrant worker holds up a photo of Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally outside the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, December 19, 2022. Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to an additional seven years in prison. Source: AAP / DIEGO AZUBEL/EPA
She has only been seen once since the start of her trial – in grainy media photos from a bare courtroom – and has relied on lawyers to get the news out to the world.
Many in Myanmar’s democracy struggle, which Suu Kyi has dominated for decades, have abandoned their core principle of non-violence, with “People’s Defense Forces” regularly clashing with the military across the country.
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 for the council after the junta’s permanent members and close allies China and Russia abstained and opted not to veto changes to the wording.
The corruption allegations are “ridiculous,” said Htwe Htwe Thein, an associate professor at Curtin University in Australia.
“Nothing in Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership, governance or lifestyle indicates the slightest bit of corruption.”
“The question now will be what do we do with Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Richard Horsey of the International Crisis Group.
“Whether she will be allowed to serve her sentence under some form of house arrest or given limited access to foreign envoys,” he said.
“But the regime is unlikely to be in a hurry to make such decisions.”
The military claimed to have perpetrated widespread voter fraud during the November 2020 election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won with great success, although international observers said the election was largely free and fair.
The junta has since annulled the result and said it had uncovered more than 11 million cases of voter fraud.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military took 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 will include the demolition of villages, extrajudicial mass killings and airstrikes on civilians.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, more than a million people have been displaced since the coup.