Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi Faces 75 Years in Prison as Myanmar Junta Brings Fresh Charges

By The Irrawaddy 13 July 2021

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi faces a potential prison sentence of 75 years, after Myanmar’s military regime filed four new corruption charges against the detained State Counselor in its latest effort to ensure that the ousted civilian leader stays behind bars.

On Tuesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and Dr. Myo Aung, the former Naypyitaw Council Chairman, appeared at a special court in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township for their trial for incitement under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code.

The fresh charges against the ousted State Counselor bring the number of cases she faces to ten. They carry a potential prison sentence of 75 years, if she is found guilty and ordered to serve the sentences for each charge consecutively.

“If the court decides that she has to serve the sentences consecutively, she could face a total of 75 years in prison for all ten cases. In political cases, the verdicts tend to be consecutive,” said U Khin Maung Zaw, one of the State Counselor’s lawyers.

U Khin Maung Zaw said the four new charges under the Anti-Corruption Law are to be accepted at Mandalay Region’s High Court on July 22, and that they will know the details of the accusations by then.

“The allegations are not clear as the lawyers cannot see the first information reports and other documents from the police,” he said.

Two of the cases are against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi only, while in the other two cases she is charged along with two others.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Myo Aung and U Min Thu, an ex-committee member of Naypyitaw Council, face one charge, while Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Ye Min Oo, the ousted deputy chair of Naypyitaw Council, and another Council member face a separate charge together.

Last month, they were accused of abusing their powers to obtain a cheap land lease for the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation’s La Yaung Taw Horticulture Vocational School in Naypyitaw.

The junta-controlled Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said “she was found to have committed corruption using her rank,” filing her case under Section 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law.

The other accused were also charged under the Anti-Corruption Law for granting land use permits and land grants in violation of official procedures.

The State Counselor is already on trial for six other charges, including the illegal possession of walkie-talkies, breaching COVID-19 restrictions, incitement and one case under the Official Secrets Act.

She was detained in the early morning of Feb. 1, as the junta staged its coup, and placed under house arrest.

Following the takeover, the regime launched corruption probes against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, accusing her of accepting cash and gold, as well as of abusing her authority and funds donated to a charity foundation she leads.

In early June, the junta said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged under the Anti-Corruption Law and that the ACC was probing the allegations.

U Khin Maung Zaw said that the same legal team is also representing U Min Thu, who faces incitement charges under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code. U Khin Maung Zaw has been representing U Min Thu every Wednesday at his trial at the prison court in Naypyitaw. The court has already heard from prosecution witnesses in the case.

During a meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Dr. Myo Aung prior to their Tuesday court appearance, her legal team said that they had obtained signatures from both the accused for power of attorney documents to be presented to the Mandalay Region High Court.

Testimony from the prosecution witnesses for the incitement charge Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and Dr. Myo Aung are facing was completed on Tuesday. The case has now been adjourned until 27 July for further arguments, said U Khin Maung Zaw.

For the case that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi faces under the Natural Disaster Management Law, which relates to an alleged breach of COVID-19 regulations, no prosecution witnesses appeared and the trial will continue next Tuesday.


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