Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to six more years in prison for corruption

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Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to six more years in prison on corruption charges.

She was found guilty by a military-ruled court of abuse of power by allegedly renting land below market value and building a resident with charitable donations. 

Suu Kyi denied all the charges, and her lawyers are expected to appeal Monday’s verdict.

The 77-year-old deposed leader has already been sentenced to 11 years in prison on sedition, corruption and other charges.

Suu Kyi was first detained in February 2021 after the army ousted her elected government, which had secured a landslide victory in the November 2020 general election.

Analysts say the numerous charges against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimise the military’s seizure of power and eliminate Suu Kyi from next year’s planned election.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says more than 12,000 people — including other members of the elected National League for Democracy party — are currently in detention. More than 2,100 pro-democracy activists and other civilians have been killed, it said.

Myanmar’s military said it seized power due to massive voting fraud in the election, but independent observers did not find any major irregularities.

The army’s takeover sparked peaceful nationwide street protests that security forces have quashed with lethal force, triggering armed resistance that some UN experts now characterize as a civil war.

The military government has been accused of human rights abuses including arbitrary arrests and killings, torture, and the burning of entire villages.

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has reiterated calls for Suu Kyi’s immediate release.

“I condemn the unjust sentence of Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional six years of detention, and call on the regime in Myanmar to immediately and unconditionally release her, as well as all political prisoners, and respect the will of the people,” he wrote on Twitter.

In total, the ousted leader has been charged with a total of 11 counts under the Anti-Corruption Act, with each count punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine.

Suu Kyi has previously spent nearly 15 years under house arrest in Yangon under a military government.