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Myanmar court sentences Aung San Suu Kyi to 5 years in prison for corruption

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to five more years in jail, this time for alleged corruption. Suu Kyi was detained after last year's coup by Myanmar's military. She's faced multiple charges brought by the military regime. Michael Sullivan reports from neighboring Thailand.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Today's verdict was hardly unexpected. Suu Kyi is already serving a six-year term after being sentenced last year by a military-run court for violating COVID restrictions and illegally importing walkie-talkies. Today's verdict involved allegations she accepted both cash and gold from a government minister.

Phil Robertson is deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

PHIL ROBERTSON: It's quite clear that they are aiming to put her away forever. She's 76 years old. They don't want to see her again. They view her as being the embodiment of Myanmar democracy. And by putting her away, it makes their lives easier to try to crush what is the ongoing people's resistance and demands for a wider democratic future in Burma.

SULLIVAN: Suu Kyi's trial was held in the capital, Naypyidaw, and was closed to the media, diplomats and the public. Her lawyers are forbidden from speaking to the press. If convicted of all the charges against her, she could face more than a hundred years in jail. Suu Kyi has denied all the charges. Her National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in the November 2020 general election. But the military coup prevented lawmakers from taking office. Myanmar has been wracked by violence since the coup as the military tries to stamp out opposition to its rule.

Again, Phil Robertson.

ROBERTSON: A significant number of the people who are resisting the junta are strong supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. And so they will be even further angered by this action to throw her another five years in prison. And they will not accept it. And I think this will redouble the anger that the people of Myanmar feel against this military junta.

SULLIVAN: The watchdog group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says roughly 1,800 civilians have been killed by the military since it seized power.

For NPR News, I'm Michael Sullivan in Bangkok.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA'S "DAWN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.