Democracy icon and former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to another five years in jail in a court hearing on Wednesday.
Myanmar has been under military rule since Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing overthrew the government in a military coup on February 1, 2021. Along with the other senior government officials of her party, Suu Kyi, 76, was taken at gunpoint and detained.
At the time of her most recent conviction, Suu Kyi was already under house arrest, serving a six-year sentence for multiple offenses, including being in possession of walkie-talkies which are considered contraband.
In this most recent case, Suu Kyi is charged with accepting 11.4 kilograms of gold and cash payments of $600,000 from the former Yangon Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein, who testified at the trial.
Suu Kyi now has a total sentence of 11 years, but she still has 10 other corruption charges to face. If convicted on all charges, she will face over 190 years of jail time.
Suu Kyi’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won the November 2020 elections by a landslide, based on popular vote. Under Hlaing, the military rejected the results of the election after claims of voter fraud. Suu Kyi was charged with electoral fraud and detained.
She was then found guilty in December 2021 of inciting the protests that took place after her detainment and allegedly breaking public health COVID policies.
The military’s crackdown on the peaceful protests made international headlines after photos of teenager “Angel,” whose real name is Kyal Sin, became a symbol of the young Burmese generation’s fight for democracy.
Angel, who was shot by police, was a 19-year-old dancer and taekwondo champion. Before taking to the streets, she posted on her Facebook her medical details and requested that her body be donated in the event that she was killed.
Suu Kyi has denied all allegations, with the support of the international community and several human rights groups.
Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson called Suu Kyi’s charges “bogus” and described it as the junta’s effort to silence her.
“The days of Aung San Suu Kyi as a free woman are effectively over,” he said. “Destroying popular democracy in Myanmar also means getting rid of Aung San Suu Kyi, and the junta is leaving nothing to chance.”
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, Myanmar’s new military regime is holding over 13,000 people prisoner, with 1,800 killed since the coup.
DAILY UPDATE 27/04/22
1,798 killed (+0)
13,424 total arrests (+23)
1,977 evading warrant (+0)
— AAPP (Burma) (@aapp_burma) April 27, 2022
Suu Kyi, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her “non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights,” has long been a symbol of democracy in a country that has previously been under strict military-rule.
President Biden will host the Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Washington, D.C., on May 12-13. Suu Kyi’s imprisonment is expected to be a point of major discussion during the event.
Featured Image via BBC News