New Delhi: A court in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, on Friday sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi to seven years in prison on corruption charges, Myanmar’s media reported.
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, CNN reported citing a source.
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.
The sentence was announced at a court hearing held inside the Naypyidaw Central Prison and the accused have the right to appeal, Myanmar’s Mizzima News portal reported
All five charges are reportedly related to the lease and use of a helicopter purchased with state funds. Aung San Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint allegedly abused their positions and caused a loss for state funds by not following all the required legal and financial regulations when giving permission to subordinates to hire, buy and maintain the helicopter.
Suu Kyi has previously been convicted of multiple offenses, including electoral fraud and receiving bribes, CNN reported citing sources.
She has denied all of the charges levied against her, according to the source, and her lawyers have said they are politically motivated.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, served as state counselor of Myanmar, equivalent to a prime minister, until February 2021, when the military grabbed power in the country using a constitutional mechanism for transferring power in an emergency situation.
The junta overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and put her, along with then-President Win Myint, under house arrest. She was soon transferred to the Naypyidaw Central Prison.
In the two years since the military seized power, freedoms and rights in Myanmar have deteriorated markedly. State executions have returned and thousands of people have been arrested for protesting against military rule.