A court in Myanmar run by the military has sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi up to seven years in prison for corruption, a source familiar with the case told CNN, ending a string of secret and highly political proceedings against the ousted former leader.
Friday’s ruling is the final punishment for the 77-year-old, a figure democratically elected to oppose decades-long military rule who has led Myanmar for five years. before being ousted in a violent coup in early 2021.
The source said Friday’s ruling found Suu Kyi guilty of corruption related to the purchase, repair and lease of helicopters for use in natural disasters and national affairs, including including rescues and emergencies, the source said.
The source said she now faces a total of 33 years in prison, including three years of hard labor, meaning she can spend the rest of her life behind bars.
According to sources, Ms. Suu Kyi has previously been convicted of numerous crimes, including electoral fraud and accepting bribes.
She has denied all of the charges against her, according to the source, and her lawyers have said they are politically motivated.
She is being held in solitary confinement at a prison in the capital Naypyidaw and her trials are taking place behind closed doors, with limited information reported by state media and a gag order against her lawyer. .
Myanmar has been torn by violence and economic paralysis since the military intervened to prevent Ms. Suu Kyi from forming a new government, three months after her party was re-elected in a landslide election. The opposition is backed by the military.
Meanwhile, human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concern about punishing democracy activists in the country since the military took power.
“The sentences are aimed at permanently removing (Suu Kyi), as well as weakening and ultimately negating the resounding victory of her NLD (National League for Democracy) party in the November elections. 2020,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Friday.
“From start to finish, the authorities grabbed whatever they could to create cases against her in the full belief that the kangaroo country courts would return with any punitive sentences. whatever punishment the army wants.”
Last week, The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called on the junta to release all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint, in the first resolution adopted on Southeast Asian countries since independence.
In the two years since the military took power, freedoms and rights in Myanmar have deteriorated markedly. State executions are back and Thousands of people who were arrested for protesting military rule.
In November, the government release more than 6,000 prisoners under the amnesty, state media reported, including a former British ambassador, an Australian economist and a Japanese journalist.
The amnesty comes after strong criticism of the administration at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.