Graft convictions extend Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison term to 26 years

Court ruled by the military Myanmar convict the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyion two other corruption charges Wednesday, with two three-year sentences to be served simultaneously, adding to previous convictions that brought her a total of 26 years in prison, a legal official said. said.
Ms. Suu Kyi, 77, was arrested on February 1, 2021, as the military usurped power from the government she elected.
She has denied the charges against her in this case, in which she allegedly received $550,000 in bribes from Maung Weik, a tycoon convicted of drug trafficking.
Corruption cases accounted for the largest proportion of the many charges the military brought against 1991 Nobel Peace Prize queen. Suu Kyi has been charged with a total of 12 counts under Anti-Corruption ActEach charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine.
Suu Kyi was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being found guilty of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, violating the country’s official secret act, seduce, fraud election and five counts of corruption.
Her supporters and independent analysts say the allegations are politically motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s grip on power while preventing her from participating in the civil war. The next election the military has promised is in 2023.
In recent months, her trials have been held in a purpose-built courtroom in the main prison on the outskirts of the capital Naypyitaw.
She has not been seen or allowed to speak in public since her arrest and her attorneys, who served as a source of information about the proceedings, have not been authorized to speak publicly. on her behalf or on her trial since the gag order was issued. last year.
In the case decided on Wednesday, Suu Kyi is alleged to have received a total of $550,000 in 2019 and 2020 from Maung Weik, with separate payments being counted as two crimes.
Maung Weik, a construction magnate, has close ties to the military generals who were in power in the former military-run government, and has headed two major companies over the course of three decades in business: Maung Weik & Family Co. Ltd., specialized in trading. metals and agricultural products, and Sae Pain Development Ltd., a real estate and construction company.
He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2008 for drug trafficking but was released in 2014 under a semi-democratic transitional government led by former general Thein Sein.
After his release from prison, Maung Weik returned to doing business with former generals and according to a 2017 report in the online news magazine The Irrawaddy, he became chairman of Mandalay Business Capital City Development, the company involved in the urban development work.
Under Ms. Suu Kyi’s government, Maung Weik won a major development project including the construction of housing, restaurants, hospitals, economic zones, ports and hotels in the central Mandalay area of ​​​​Mandalay. Myanmar.
According to reports, he was questioned by the military two weeks after taking over last year, and shortly thereafter, in March 2021, military-controlled state television broadcast a video in which he declared Dad paid cash to government ministers to help his businesses.
He said in his video that this includes $100,000 provided to Suu Kyi in 2018 for a charity in her mother’s name and another $450,000 in payments in 2019 and 2020 for charitable causes. destination that he did not specify.
A state-controlled newspaper, Global New Light of Myanmar, reported in February that Ms. Suu Kyi as a state adviser – the country’s de facto chief executive officer – had received $550,000. la in four installments for 2019-2020 “to facilitate the business activities of a private entrepreneur.”
Suu Kyi’s close colleague, Zaw Myint Maung, who was once premier in the Mandalay region, is accused of receiving more than $180,000 separately from Maung Weik and was found guilty of corruption in June.
Wednesday’s sentence sentenced Suu Kyi to two three-year sentences to be served and conveyed by a legal official, who insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution by the authorities.
He added that her lawyers are expected to file an appeal in the coming days.
In separate proceedings, Suu Kyi is still on trial alongside the country’s former president, Win Myint, on five other corruption charges related to a license granted to a Cabinet minister to hire and buy helicopters.
Suu Kyi has been the face of opposition to the military regime in Myanmar for more than three decades. The previous military junta put her under house arrest in 1989, which continued for 15 of the next 22 years.
Her National League for Democracy party initially came to power after winning the 2015 general election, forming a true civilian government for the first time since a military coup in 1962. However, democratic reforms are expected to be small and slow in the near term, largely because the military retains considerable power and influence under the provisions of the constitution it enacted at the end of the year. 2008.
The National League for Democracy won a resounding victory in the 2020 elections, but its legislators were stripped of their seats in Congress by the military, which also arrested the party’s top leaders. .
The military said it acted because of a major voter fraud in the 2020 election, but independent election observers did not find any major anomalies.
The 2021 takeover has been met with nationwide peaceful protests that security forces have quelled with deadly force, sparking a fierce armed resistance that some UN experts now say. now called civil war.
According to a detailed list compiled by the Political Prisoners Support Association, a watchdog group now based in Thailand, Myanmar security forces have killed at least 2,343 civilians and arrested 15,821. .


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