A court in Myanmar has sentenced former president Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison for corruption, making it a total of 33 years imprisonment, bringing an end to the highly-politicized court proceedings against the ousted former leader.
The verdict on Friday, December 30 is the final punishment meted out to the 77-year-old, a democratically elected leader who has opposed decades of military rule. She led Myanmar for five years before being forced from power in a violent coup in early 2021.
The ruling Friday found Suu Kyi guilty of corruption in relation to the purchase, repair and rental of a helicopter for use during natural disasters and state affairs, including rescues and emergencies, the source said.
She now faces a total of 33 years in jail, including three years of hard labor, the source said, meaning she could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Suu Kyi has previously been convicted of multiple offenses, including electoral fraud and receiving bribes.
She has denied all of the charges levied against her, and her lawyers have said they are politically motivated.
She is being held in solitary confinement at a prison in the capital Naypyidaw and her trials have taken place behind closed doors, with limited information reported by state media and a gag order imposed on her lawyers.
“The convictions aim to both permanently sideline (Suu Kyi), as well as undermine and ultimately negate her NLD (National League for Democracy) party’s landslide victory in the November 2020 election,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Friday.
“From start to finish, the junta grabbed whatever it could to manufacture cases against her with full confidence that the country’s kangaroo courts would come back 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 Southeast Asian country since its independence.