A military-run court in Myanmar has sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison for corruption, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN, ending a series of secret and highly politicized proceedings against the ousted former leader. .
Friday’s verdict is the final punishment for the 77-year-old, a democratically elected leading figure in opposition to decades of military rule who ruled Myanmar for five years before being ousted in a a violent coup in early 2021.
Friday’s ruling found Suu Kyi guilty of corruption in connection with the purchase, repair and rental of a helicopter for use in natural disasters and affairs of state, including rescues and emergencies, a indicated the source.
She now faces a total of 33 years in prison, including three years of hard labour, the source said, meaning she could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Suu Kyi has already been convicted of several crimes, including election fraud and bribery, sources say.
She denied all charges against her, the source said, and her lawyers said they were politically motivated.
She is being held in solitary confinement in a prison in the capital Naypyidaw and her trials have been held behind closed doors, with limited information reported by state media and a gag order imposed on her lawyers.
Myanmar has been riven by violence and economic paralysis since the military intervened to prevent Suu Kyi from forming a new government, three months after her party won re-election in landslide elections against a military-backed opposition .
Meanwhile, rights groups have repeatedly raised concerns about the punishment of pro-democracy activists in the country since the military took over.
“The convictions are intended both to permanently sideline (Suu Kyi), as well as to undermine and ultimately negate the landslide victory of his NLD (National League for Democracy) party in the November 2020 elections,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. in a statement Friday.
“From start to finish, the junta grabbed everything it could to fabricate cases against it with full confidence that the country’s kangaroo courts would return with whatever punitive judgments the military wanted.”
Last week, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called on the military junta to release all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint, in its first resolution passed on the South Asian country. -Is since its independence.
In the two years since the military took over, freedoms and rights in Myanmar have deteriorated markedly. State executions resumed and thousands of people were arrested for protesting military rule.
In November, the junta released more than 6,000 prisoners under an amnesty, state media reported, including a former British ambassador, an Australian economist and a Japanese journalist.
The pardons came after heavy criticism of the junta at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.