Myanmar: Junta adds five new charges against Aung San Suu Kyi

The new charges leveled at ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi are piling up and could lead to some 160 years in prison if convicted. Her supporters have denounced the allegations against her.

Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi is facing up to 160 years in prison after a court added five new charges against her on Friday.

The Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since February 1, 2021, hours before the military ousted elected leaders and took power.

She has already been sentenced to six years in prison after the court found her guilty of five criminal charges.

She is still facing six other charges, plus the five new ones. Ten of those carry sentences of up to 15 years in prison.

What are the charges against Suu Kyi?

The 76-year-old was found guilty of illegally importing walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions and intent to incite after writing to the international community asking them not to recognize the military government.

Among the new charges are the allegation that she misused state funds to lease a helicopter, and that she accepted bribes totaling $600,000 (€525,000) as well as 11.4 kg of gold bars, according to Reuters news agency.

Suu Kyi has rejected all the accusations. Her supporters said the junta has contrived the charges to justify keeping her in detention.

A spokesperson for the military government, Zaw Min Tun, rejected this claim on Friday saying: “ No one is above the law. I just want to say that she would be judged according to the law.”

Military holding onto power

Myanmar has been in political turmoil since the military coup in February 2021.

The junta claimed they had acted due to the high level of fraud in the November 2020 election. Independent observers have said there is little proof to back up this claim.

The army has since had trouble suppressing popular protests as well as the armed resistance against its rule.

The junta has also faced widespread international condemnation for its actions.

ab/sms (dpa, Reuters, AP)