Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to five years in prison by junta court

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to five years in prison by junta court
Aung San Suu Kyiv, Myanmar's former leader, was handed a five-year jail sentence on Wednesday in a trial the international community dismissed as farcical.
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Suu Kyi, a former Nobel peace prize laureate, has been detained since a military coup ousted her from government last year [source: Getty]

A court in Myanmar sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in jail on Wednesday after finding her guilty in the first of 11 corruption cases against her, according to a source with knowledge of proceedings.

The Nobel laureate, who led Myanmar for five years before being forced from power in a coup in early 2021, has been charged with at least 18 offences, which carry combined maximum jail term of nearly 190 years if found guilty.

The judge in the capital Naypyitaw handed down the verdict within moments of the court convening said the source, who declined to be identified because the trial is being held behind closed doors, with information restricted.

The case centred on allegations that Suu Kyi, 76, accepted 11.4 kg (402 oz) of gold and cash payments totalling $600,000 from her protege-turned-accuser, former Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein.

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Suu Kyi denied the charges and called the allegations "absurd".

It was not immediately clear if Suu Kyi would be transferred to a prison.

She has been held in an undisclosed location, where junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said she could remain after earlier guilty verdicts in other cases.

The international community dismissed the trials as farcical and demanded her immediate release.

The military says Suu Kyi is on trial because she committed crimes and is being given due process by an independent judiciary. A spokesman for the junta was not immediately available for comment.

Since her arrest on the morning of the February 1 coup last year, Suu Kyi has been charged with multiple crimes from violations of electoral and state secrets laws to incitement and corruption, accusations her supporters say are trumped up to kill off any chance of a political comeback.