A Myanmar regime’s court in Naypyitaw did not follow legal procedures when passing a “five-year” jail sentence to the country’s ousted democratic leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for a corruption case last week, legal sources said.
Detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she was unhappy with the verdict after a junta court sentenced her to five years in prison based on the account of her former colleague on April 27.
Her remark upset Mandalay Region High Court judge U Myint San, who delivered the verdict, according to court sources.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been on trial on a corruption charge for accepting bribes from her Yangon Region chief minister U Phyo Min Thein, who testified in October last year that he gave her seven viss (around 11.4kg) of gold and US$600,000 in 2017 and 2018.
At the trial last week, U Myint San quickly read out the verdict against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and left the court immediately, according to those present.
The verdict was due on April 26 but was postponed until the next day. He might have been waiting for an instruction from the regime.
At the hearing on the morning of April 26, the judge said the verdict would be delivered that afternoon but then it was put off until the next day.
In other cases verdicts have been postponed.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team appealed to the Supreme Court in early March against the prosecution. The Supreme Court judges ignored the appeal even though the special Naypyitaw court announced that the verdict was due on April 26.
According to judicial procedures, if the Supreme Court takes over the case, the special court in Naypyitaw cannot pass a verdict, legal sources said.
Only after the Naypyitaw court delivered the verdict on April 27, the Supreme Court said it would hear the appeal on May 4.
The verdict will be quashed if the Supreme Court decides that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should not be prosecuted.
Observers say the Supreme Court wants to avoid handling Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s case.
But her legal team will appeal against the verdict which was based only on the testimony of U Phyo Min Thein without any evidence, according to court sources.
He is the only National League for Democracy chief minister not to be jailed since the 2021 coup, apart from the Chin State chief minister, who managed to flee to India.
The regime has imposed a gagging order on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers.
She faces sentences of more than 100 years from 17 charges filed by the regime. She has so far been given 11 years in prison.
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