Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been convicted of one of several corruption charges brought against her by the military junta that overthrew her civilian government last year.
A judge in the capital, Naypyitaw, sentenced the 76-year-old Suu Kyi to five years in prison after announcing the verdict during a hearing Wednesday, according to a source close to the hearings. Her trial has been held behind closed doors, and her lawyers are banned from speaking to the press.
Suu Kyi was accused of accepting a bribe of $600,000 in cash and 11 kilograms of gold bars from Phyo Min Thein, a member of her National League for Democracy political party and the former chief minister of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city.
Suu Kyi has been charged with numerous crimes by the military junta, including breaching the Official Secrets Act, inciting public unrest and misusing land for her charitable foundation. She has already been convicted of several other charges, including illegally importing and possessing portable two-way radios, violating coronavirus restrictions, inciting public unrest and violating the Natural Disaster Management Law for breaking COVID-19 restrictions.
She potentially faces well over 100 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the November 2020 general elections in a landslide over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. The junta claimed widespread electoral fraud in the elections as its reason for toppling the civilian government on February 1, 2021, and invalidating the results. The civilian electoral commission denied the allegations before it was disbanded.
Suu Kyi, who led the ousted government as state counselor, President Win Myint and other high-ranking officials have been jailed since the coup.
Suu Kyi earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her long resistance to Myanmar’s long-running military regime, which kept her in some form of detention for more than two decades. She led the NLD to a sweeping landslide victory in general elections in 2015, Myanmar’s first after the military agreed to hand over power to a civilian government.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.