Aung San Suu Kyi, the former leader of Myanmar’s democracy, was sentenced to a further seven years in prison on Friday, bringing her total time behind bars to more than thirty years.
Suu Kyi, 77, a prisoner of the military since a coup took place last year, has been found guilty of all charges brought against her, including corruption, illegal possession of walkie-talkies, and violating Covid regulations.
She was sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday after being found guilty on five counts of corruption in connection with the hiring, upkeep, and purchase of a helicopter for a government minister, a matter in which she is accused of causing “a loss to the state.”
Suu Kyi appeared to be in excellent health, a legal source familiar with the case said AFP. Suu Kyi was sentenced to a total of 33 years after 18 months of court hearings that rights groups have called a fraud.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous since they were not authorized to speak to the media, stated that “all her cases were resolved and there are no more charges against her.”
Suu Kyi’s attorneys are not permitted to talk before the media, and journalists are not permitted to attend the proceedings.
Before the verdict, an AFP correspondent in the city said that the road leading to the prison where Suu Kyi is being held in the military-built capital Naypyidaw was free of traffic.
Suu Kyi has only once been seen since her trial started, in blurry images from a barren courtroom, and has relied on her attorneys to communicate with the outside world.
Suu Kyi has dominated Myanmar’s democratic campaign for decades, but many have abandoned her primary ideal of nonviolence, and the “People’s Defence Forces” frequently engage in combat with the military around the nation.
In its first resolution on the situation in Myanmar since the coup, the United Nations Security Council urged the junta to free Suu Kyi last week.
As a result of changes to the wording, permanent members and junta allies China and Russia chose to abstain, choosing not to exercise their vetoes.
Associate professor at Curtin University in Australia, Htwe Htwe Thein, called the corruption allegations “preposterous.”
Nothing in Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership, administration, or way of life, she claimed, “indicates the slightest suggestion of corruption.”
What to do with Aung San Suu Kyi will now be the question, according to Richard Horsey of the International Crisis Group.
“Whether to give foreign envoys restricted access to her or to let her serve out her sentence under some sort of home detention. However, it is unlikely that the government will act quickly to make such choices.”
Elections in November 2020, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) easily won, were accused of major voter fraud by the military, despite the fact that international monitors declared the voting was generally free and fair.
Since then, the junta has declared the results invalid and claimed to have found more than 11 million cases of voter fraud.
According to Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, Suu Kyi’s convictions “seek to both permanently sideline her, as well as weaken and ultimately erase her NLD party’s landslide victory.”
Since the military took over, Myanmar has been in chaos, putting an end to the nation’s brief democratic experiment and inciting massive demonstrations.
Rights organizations claim that the junta’s response has been a crackdown that includes airstrikes on civilians, the burning down of towns, and widespread extrajudicial deaths.
The UN agency for children estimates that since the coup, more than a million people have been displaced.