On Wednesday, Aung San Suu Kyi the country’s former leader was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for charges of corruption brought against her by the military government of Myanmar.
Myanmar’s military took control of the country in 2021 after ousting the democratically elected government of Suu Kyi. Many important leaders were convicted, detained and even sentenced to death.
The military has accused Aung San of taking bribes in the form of gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars from a top political leader last year.
The corruption allegations brought against Suu Kyi has been denied repeatedly by her close colleagues and independent legal experts, many of who see this prosecution as an unjust attempt to deface the 76-year-old elected leader from returning to active politics as well as to justify the military’s seizure of power last year.
A long long struggle
Aung San Suu Kyi’s political career is marked by prison terms. The country of Myanmar is marked by political campaign’s and military dictatorship’s.
The former Nobel laureate has already spent years in prison for defying military rule. On the current Charges of corruption brought against her, Suu Kyi is facing six more years of prison imprisonment in accordance to the charges brought against her till now.
In addition to the current charges 10 more corruption charges are in store for her. The maximum term of imprisonment under anti-corruption law in Myanmar is 15 years in prison along with a fine.
Convictions in all the charges can bring the total term of imprisonment to more that a 100 years in prison for the former leader of the country.
Information about Wednesdays verdict was received from a legal official who refused to be identified due to the lack of clearance in releasing information.
Suu Kyi’s trial was held in the capital city of Naypyidaw on Wednesday. Members of media, member of assembly and other spectators as well. Her lawyers were also prevented from talking to the press.
After Suu Kyi’s former National league for democracy party won the 2020 national elections with a huge margin, the country rejoiced. But the situation went sour very soon after the country ‘s military seized power on February 1,2021.
Many of the nation’s important political leaders including Suu Kyi were arrested and detained. The military described their reason behind acting to be massive electoral frauds during the 2020 election campaign committed by Suu Kyi’s party. Although independent observers and experts failed to notice any of the supposed irregularities described by the military.
In response to the hostile takeover, large nonviolent protests were hosted nationwide, to which the military responded violently. According to official sources nearly 1,800 civilians have lost their lives in the violence so far.
As the conflict escalated over time, many U.N experts see the conflict at current time to be similar to a civil war.
The trial held on Wednesday, focused on the allegations on Suu Kyi of receiving $600,000 dollars and seven gold bars from the former CM of Yangon Phyo Min Thein in 2018.
Phyo Min Thein is an important member of Suu Kyi’s party. The allegations are of grave nature and Suu Kyi’s lawyers have dubbed them as absurd right from the start of the political imprisonment.
Five years for corruption charges were given to Suu Kyi in the trial held on Wednesday
The nine other charges of corruption brought against Kyi include several related to the purchase and rental of a helicopter by one of her cabinet ministers.
In addition Suu Kyi is also accused of diverting money meant as charitable donations to build a residence, and misusing her position to obtain rental properties at lower-than-market prices for a foundation named
after her mother. According to the state Anti-Corruption Commission several of her alleged actions deprived the state of revenue it would otherwise have earned .
Suu Kyi is also being tried on a charge of violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years, and on a charge alleging election fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of three years.
As the trials continue it becomes clear for international audiences as well as internal observers in the country that the military does not want the 71 year old novel laureate to be joining active politics anytime soon.
The veracity of the charges are being mislead by many irregularities from the Military’s side as the voice of the political leaders are being suppressed. The nation is torn in between the rebels and the military as the country plunges deeper towards a civil war.
By the desperate attempts of the military it seems to see Suu Kyi’s leadership as a threat to their military regime and is hell bent on stopping Aung San Suu Kyi from taking to the political arena any time soon.
Published by: Aditya Negi
Edited by: Khushi Thakur