Myanmar’s junta sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday to another six years in prison for corruption, a source with knowledge of the case said, taking the Nobel laureate’s total jail time to 26 years.
Suu Kyi “was sentenced to three years imprisonment each for two corruption cases” in which she had been accused of taking bribes from a businessman, the source said, adding that the terms would be served concurrently.
Detained since the putsch last year, Suu Kyi, 77, has already been convicted of corruption and a clutch of other charges by a closed junta court.
In the latest case, the Nobel laureate — who has been in military custody since the night of the coup — was accused of taking bribes of US$550,000 from businessman Maung Weik.
Suu Kyi — who denies all charges against her — appeared in good health and would appeal, the source added.
She is currently on trial for five other corruption charges.
Journalists have been barred from attending the court hearings and Suu Kyi’s lawyers have been banned from speaking to the media.
– Confined –
Suu Kyi has been the face of Myanmar’s democratic hopes for more than 30 years and was previously a political prisoner. Since February 2021, she has once again been confined by the military, with her link to the outside world now limited to brief pre-trial meetings with lawyers.
Many of her political allies have also been arrested since the coup, with one chief minister sentenced to 75 years in jail.
Last year, a military broadcaster aired a video of Maung Weik saying that he had given Suu Kyi $550,000 over several years.
Maung Weik said he had donated money to senior government figures for the good of his business.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the military seized power, sparking widespread armed resistance.
The junta has responded with a crackdown that rights groups say includes razing villages, mass extrajudicial killings and airstrikes on civilians.
More than one million people have been displaced since the coup, according to the United Nations children’s agency.
More than 2,300 people have been killed and over 15,000 arrested since the military seized power, according to a local monitoring group.
– Myanmar jails Japanese filmmaker –
On Oct 6, a court in military-ruled Myanmar jailed a Japanese documentary filmmaker for 10 years for violating sedition and communications laws, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Thursday.
Toru Kubota, 26, was arrested in July at a protest in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon. At the time, it was reported he faced charges of breaking an immigration law and encouraging dissent against the ruling military.
“We have been asking Myanmar authorities for Mr Kubota’s early release, and we intend to keep on doing so,” the ministry official said. Calls to a Myanmar military spokesman seeking comment were not answered.
This file photo taken on July 31, 2022, shows a group of activists holding up placards with images of Japanese citizen Toru Kubota, who was detained in Myanmar, during a rally in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo. (Photo: AFP)
Accoding to the junta, Myanmar’s courts are independent and those arrested are receiving due process.
Myanmar has been trapped in a spiral of violence since the military overthrew an elected government last year. The junta has arrested thousands including politicians, bureaucrats, students, journalists, and foreigners as it attempts to smother dissent.
A Japanese freelance journalist was arrested last year and charged with spreading false news in his coverage of anti-coup protests. He was later freed with the junta saying his release was in recognition the two countries’ close ties.