The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar draws to a close

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 's ousted civilian leader, was convicted of corruption on Friday and sentenced to seven years in prison, nearly two years after she was first arrested by the military in a coup.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, a Nobel laureate, had already begun serving a 26-year prison sentence in connection with more than a dozen charges she has faced since the military coup. The additional sentence he received on Friday, in a courtroom located inside a prison in the capital, Naypyidaw, ends his legal trials and makes it likely he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life – or as long as the junta remains in power.

His lawyers plan to appeal, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.

Since the coup on February 1, 2021, Myanmar has been wracked by violence. Protests erupted across the country as opponents of the junta staged a civil disobedience movement and a nationwide strike. The military responded with brutal force, shooting and killing protesters in the streets. Thousands of armed resistance fighters continued to fight the Tatmadaw, as the army is known in Myanmar, using guerrilla tactics and training in the jungle.

Last week, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution condemning the violations of junta rights in the aftermath of the coup and calling for the release of political prisoners.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with a variety of crimes, including bribery, electoral fraud, inciting public unrest and violating Covid-19 protocols. A number of other government leaders have also stood in recent months and the regime has executed some pro-democracy activists as it continues to crack down on its opponents.

The military-controlled Election Commission first filed electoral fraud charges against Ms Aung San Suu Kyi in November 2021, about a year after her political party won a landslide. During that trial, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior government officials were accused of manipulating electoral rolls to ensure victory over the military-backed party. He denied all allegations against her.

Friday's ruling involved a number of charges separate from the election fraud case and was one of several rulings that have been handed down against Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in recent months.

She was found guilty of five counts of corruption resulting in a loss of state funds. In the most recent case, prosecutors said an investigation found Ms Aung San Suu Kyi failed to follow proper protocols when she chartered one helicopter and purchased a second one, between 2019 and 2021.

The United Nations and other international organizations have called for Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's release, although the junta has insisted that the charges against her are not politically motivated. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is revered by many in Myanmar, but the military has long tried to downplay her influence, said U Kyee Myint, a human rights lawyer in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. .

“As long as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in politics, the military will never win,” Kyee Myint said. “That's why long-term prison sentences are being imposed – to remove Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's influence in politics.”

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of General Aung San, the country's independence hero, who was assassinated when she was 2 years old. As an adult, she was one of many who spent years in prison for their political opposition to the military junta that took power in 1962 and ruled the country for decades.

In 1991 she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent resistance to the generals who had locked her up, transforming her into an icon of global democracy. She finally initiated a power-sharing deal with the military when her party, the National League for Democracy, won its first landslide electoral victory in 2015. She was given the title of foreign secretary and state councilor.

By the time of her arrest in 2021, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi had already lost some of her luster, largely because she had downplayed the army's murderous campaign against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority, who have been forced to flee the country from the hundreds of thousands. But she still has legions of devoted followers.

“Burmese protesters paraded flying portraits of his father, Aung San, decades after he was assassinated, so we can assume that his own portrait will continue to be used as a call for collective action and protest against those in illegitimate power, regardless of his own action,” said Renaud Egreteau, an expert on civil-military relations in Myanmar and a professor at the City University of Hong Kong.

“She's still the matriarchal figure calling for resistance against the military,” he added. “I doubt a show trial will change that.”

Since being detained in 2021, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has only been allowed to speak with her lawyers. They were banned from speaking to the media during the trials. Earlier this year, the country's military-backed Supreme Court announced it would auction the residence of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, where she spent nearly 15 years under house arrest during the former military regime. .

[Disclaimer: This story was automatically generated by a computer program and was not created or edited by Journalpur Staff. Publisher:]

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