A court in military-run Myanmar sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison on corruption charges, a source familiar with the case told CNN, ending a series of secrecy and high-profile campaigns against the ousted former leader. politicized litigation.
Friday’s sentencing was the final punishment for the 77-year-old, the democratically elected puppet leader against decades of military rule who led Myanmar for five years before being forced out in a violent coup in early 2021.
Friday’s ruling found Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of corruption in buying, maintaining and leasing helicopters used in natural disasters and state affairs, including rescue and emergency situations, the sources said.
She now faces a total of 33 years in prison, including three years of hard labor, meaning she could spend the rest of her life behind bars, the source said.
According to sources, Aung San Suu Kyi was previously convicted of a number of crimes, including electoral fraud and accepting bribes.
She has denied all allegations against her, and her lawyers say they are politically motivated, according to sources.
She was held in solitary confinement in a prison in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, and her trial was held behind closed doors, with limited information reported by state media and a gag order against her lawyer.
Myanmar has been plagued by violence and economic paralysis since the army intervened to prevent Aung San Suu Kyi from forming a new government, three months after her party was re-elected in a landslide election against a military-backed opposition.
Meanwhile, rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the punishment of democracy activists in the country since the military took power.
“These convictions are designed to permanently sideline (Aung San Suu Kyi) and undermine and ultimately negate her NLD party’s overwhelming victory in the November 2020 general election,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Sexual victory,” in a statement Friday.
“Throughout, the junta has gone to great lengths to create a case against her in the firm belief that the country’s kangaroo courts will hand down any punitive sentence the military wants.”
Last week, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called on the junta to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi and former president Win Myint, the first resolution passed by the Southeast Asian country since independence.
In the two years since the military took power, freedom and rights in Myanmar have deteriorated markedly. State executions are back, with thousands arrested for protesting military rule.
The junta pardoned more than 6,000 prisoners in November, including a former British ambassador, an Australian economist and a Japanese journalist, state media reported.
The pardon follows strong criticism of the junta at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.