Myanmar’s ousted leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to a further three years in prison by a court in the military-ruled nation, bringing her combined jail term to 26 years.
The embattled former leader, charged with accepting bribes, in a recent ruling, was found guilty on two counts of corruption and sentenced to three years in jail on each count.
The court, however, ruled that the sentences would run concurrently, meaning that three years have been added to her already hefty prison term which now stands at 26 years.
In her reactions, the 77-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi called the accusations against her absurd and denied any wrongdoing.
Reports have it that she is also on trial for five other corruption charges.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok, said the allegations against Aung San Suu Kyi were made by a prominent businessman who had himself run into trouble with authorities in the past.
“He said he visited her house on a number of occasions. Left parcels wrapped in black paper with sums ranging between 100 and 150,000 US dollars for her in return for preferential treatment in government tenders his company had made”.
“Those accusations were actually broadcast live on Myanmar TV after the coup. He himself is a rather dubious witness or witness of questionable quality. He’s previously served prison terms for drug possession. Nonetheless, she was found guilty on both charges today,” Cheng said.
In his report, Cheng averred that the objective of the court verdicts and sentences appeared to be aimed at removing Aung San Suu Kyi “completely from the political scene”.
“I think they know very well that if there was any form of election and Aung San Suu Kyi was on the ballot paper, she would win overwhelmingly as she has done in the past,” Cheng said.
This is even as opponents of the military have long said the charges against the embattled ousted leader are aimed at blocking her from ever getting involved in politics again or trying to challenge the military’s grip on power.
According to the United Nations, more than one million people have been displaced since the coup in February 2021, and according to monitors, more than 2,300 people have been killed and over 15,000 jailed.
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