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Aung San Suu Kyi faces worst corruption charge yet


Ms. Suu Kyi faces six more charges related to alleged illegal imports of walkie-talkies and incitement to public unrest

Myanmar military authorities have indicted ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi with corruption, the most serious charge against her to date.

Ms. Suu Kyi is accused of accepting money and gold as bribes and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

She faces six other counts relating to alleged illegal imports of walkie-talkies and incitement to public unrest.

The former state councilor was arrested on February 1 when the military seized power in a coup.

She has since been placed under house arrest and little has been seen or heard of other than brief court appearances.

A press release issued by the military council on Thursday said Ms Suu Kyi had accepted $ 600,000 (£ 425,000) in bribes and seven gold coins.

He also alleged that the previous civilian government – the National League for Democracy (NLD) – lost significant sums in land deals. Besides Ms. Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest during previous periods of military rule, several other former officials face charges of similar corruption and bribery.

Previously, the most serious charge against Ms. Suu Kyi claimed that she had broken the Law on Official Secrets, carrying a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.

The Burmese military seized power alleging electoral fraud in the general elections held last year.

But independent election observers say the elections were largely free and fair, and the charges against Ms. Suu Kyi have been widely criticized for being politically motivated.

They will likely be used to disqualify her from running for office in the future, given her enduring popularity.

Her lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, called the bribery charges “absurd” and said she could face long prison terms for the secrecy and corruption charges.

“This is one of the reasons to indict her, to keep her away,” he told AFP news agency.

The coup sparked numerous protests and the Burmese army brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Security forces have killed more than 800 people and detained nearly 5,000 to date, according to the monitoring group Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Charges against Aung San Suu Kyi

  • Corruption, punishable by up to 15 years in prison

  • Violation of the Official Secrets Law, punishable by up to 14 years in prison

  • Violate import-export laws by illegally importing walkie-talkies, carrying a maximum prison sentence of three years

  • Violate telecommunications law by importing walkie-talkies, carrying a maximum jail term of one year

  • Two charges of violating a natural disaster law, carrying a maximum jail term of three years each

  • Incitement to public unrest, punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment

Profile of Burma

  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Great Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history, it has been under military rule.

  • Restrictions began to ease from 2010, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.

  • In 2017, the Myanmar military responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, forcing more than half a million Rohingya Muslims to cross the border into Bangladesh in what the UN called later a “classic example of ethnic cleansing”.

Aung San Suu Kyi faces worst corruption charge yet

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