Aung San Suu Kyi faces 5 new corruption charges in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi briefs the media in Oslo June 15, 2012. Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against the ousted leader.

Markus Schreiber/AP

Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi in connection with granting permits for the rental and purchase of a helicopter, a legal official said on Friday.

Suu Kyi, detained since last February’s military coup, is already on trial on five other corruption charges. Each is liable to 15 years in prison and a fine.

She was also charged with other offenses and was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Her supporters and rights groups say the lawsuits against her were engineered by the military to justify her takeover and prevent her from returning to politics.

The government dismissed the criticism.

“No one is above the law. I just want to say that she will be tried according to the law,” government spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun said when asked about the matter during a briefing. a press conference on Friday.

The military takeover prevented Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in power. The military said it acted because of widespread fraud in the November 2020 general election, but independent poll-watching groups have little evidence of that.

The takeover was met with widespread popular protest, and Myanmar is now rocked by armed resistance to army rule.

The five new charges relate to the rental, purchase and maintenance of a helicopter, said a judicial official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to divulge details. information.

State media had announced in December that Suu Kyi and Win Myint, who was president of her government, would be prosecuted under the anti-corruption law for renting a helicopter.

Myanmar’s official Global New Light newspaper said the Anti-Corruption Commission found that it had abused its power and caused loss of public funds by neglecting to follow financial regulations by granting permission to the Minister of Protection. social, relief and resettlement era, Win Myat Aye, to rent and buy a helicopter.

Win Myat Aye is now Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the government of national unity set up as a parallel administration by opponents of the military regime. It is a clandestine organization declared illegal by the army.

The other corruption charges that Suu Kyi is being prosecuted for relate to allegations of bribery and abuse of authority related to real estate transactions.

She is also on trial for violating the Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. The government said she and her colleagues would also face trial for alleged voter fraud.

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