10 Jun 2021

Myanmar's Suu Kyi faces most serious charge yet

7:42 pm on 10 June 2021

Myanmar's military authorities have charged deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi with corruption, the most serious charge laid against her to date.

 file photograph taken on December 11, 2019, of Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi in December 2019 (file photo). Photo: AFP

Suu Kyi is accused of accepting cash and gold in bribes, and faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.

She faces six other charges relating to alleged illegal imports of walkie-talkies and inciting public unrest.

The former State Counsellor was arrested on 1 February when the military seized power in a coup.

She has since been held under house arrest, and little has been seen or heard of her apart from brief court appearances.

A press release by the military council on Thursday said Suu Kyi had accepted $US600,000 in bribes and seven pieces of gold.

It also alleged that the previous civilian government - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - had lost significant sums of money in land deals. Besides Suu Kyi, several other former officials face similar corruption and bribery charges.

Prior to this, the most serious charge filed against Suu Kyi had accused her of breaking the official secrets act - which carries a term of up to 14 years in jail.

Myanmar's military seized power in February on accusations of voter fraud.

But independent election monitors say the election was largely free and fair, and the charges against Suu Kyi have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

The coup triggered widespread demonstrations, and Myanmar's military has brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

They have killed more than 800 people and detained nearly 5000 to date, according to the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Myanmar in profile

  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule
  • Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
  • In 2017, Myanmar's army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing"


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