Myanmar's former elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to five years in prison on Wednesday for corruption, in just one of many cases against the 76-year-old Nobel laureate, who was ousted from power by the military in a February 2021 coup. Human rights groups believe the junta that deposed her aims to keep her from running in future elections. A person sent to prison after a conviction is forbidden from holding high office or becoming a lawmaker under the constitution. She has already been sentenced to six years in prison for charges including incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions.
She is charged with at least another 18 offenses, which carry a combined term of almost 190 years, per Reuters. This was the first of 11 corruption cases, a source tells the outlet. It stemmed from accusations that Suu Kyi accepted $600,000 in gold and cash from protege-turned-accuser, former chief minister of the city of Yangon, Phyo Min Thein. Suu Kyi denied the charges and called the allegations "absurd." The judge in the capital Naypyidaw gave no explanation of the verdict, which was issued within moments of the court convening behind closed doors, per Reuters.
It's unclear if Suu Kyi will now be transferred to prison. After previous convictions, the junta chief Min Aung Hlaing allowed her to remain in an undisclosed location where she has been held since her arrest. She is thought to be among more than 10,000 people in detention in Myanmar, alongside members of her National League for Democracy party and military opponents, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, per the Guardian. There have also been reports of mass killings and torture, according to the UN. (Read more Myanmar stories.)