Incitement, gold bars, walkie-talkies: Charges against Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi was charged alongside former president Win Myint with influencing Myanmar's election commission during the 2020 polls.
Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Photo | AP)
Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Photo | AP)

YANGON: Myanmar's junta has thrown the book at Aung San Suu Kyi since it ousted her government last year, charging the democracy figurehead with a clutch of offences from illegally possessing walkie talkies to corruption.

She has been found guilty of every charge so far in proceedings that critics and rights groups have slammed as a sham designed to banish the military's most famous opponent from the political scene.

Walkie-talkies, Covid regulations, incitement

After her detention in a dawn raid on the day of the coup last February, Suu Kyi was charged under an obscure import and export law over walkie-talkies found in her home.

The former state counsellor was later charged with breaching a telecommunications law for owning a set of telephone jammers.

Soon after, the junta levelled two charges that Suu Kyi had breached Covid regulations when she held an election campaign event ahead of 2020 polls in which her National League for Democracy (NLD) trounced a military-backed rival.

Suu Kyi was also accused of incitement against the military over a letter written by the NLD asking international organisations not to support the coup.

She was found guilty of the incitement charge, both counts of violating Covid rules and both charges under the telecommunications law, and jailed for six years.

Corruption

The junta has filed a raft of corruption allegations that critics say are aimed at tarnishing Suu Kyi's reputation.

In one charge, the prosecution claimed a former chief minister had admitted giving Suu Kyi $600,000 and more than 10 kilograms of gold as a bribe.

Another charge alleged she had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a tycoon and convicted drug trafficker.

Suu Kyi has called the charges "absurd", according to a source with knowledge of her case.

Each conviction carries a maximum jail term of 15 years. Suu Kyi has received sentences of between one and a half to two years per charge, for a total of 14 years in jail.

She faced five other corruption charges related to the rental of a helicopter for a government minister, a case in which Suu Kyi allegedly did not follow regulations and caused "a loss to the state".

Official Secrets Act

Suu Kyi was accused of breaching a colonial-era secrecy law alongside Australian economist Sean Turnell, who was detained shortly after last year's coup.

The exact details of their alleged offences have not been made public, though state television said Turnell had access to "secret state financial information" and tried to flee the country.

Suu Kyi and Turnell were both jailed for three years in September after being found guilty.

Turnell was released in November and flew home to Australia, where he told the Financial Times that Suu Kyi was in "good spirits" and following world events.

Electoral fraud

Suu Kyi was charged alongside former president Win Myint with influencing Myanmar's election commission during the 2020 polls.

They were both found guilty in September and jailed for three years.

The junta cancelled the 2020 election results in July last year, saying it had found 11.3 million instances of fraud.

Independent monitors said the polls were largely free and fair.

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