Myanmar’s ousted leader faces fresh bribery trial

Myanmar: Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi faces a fresh bribery case trial under the country’s Anti-Corruption Act.

Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly went on trial on Monday, in a new corruption case against her. According to reports, Kyi has been accused of accepting bribes worth $550,000 from a construction magnate. Kyi is reportedly charged with two counts under Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Act. 

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According to international media, Kyi who has been detained since February 2021 when the Myanmar military ousted her elected government, is not allowed to speak with or be seen in public. Aung San Suu Kyi is being tried in “closed sessions” meanwhile, her lawyers also cannot speak to the public on her behalf, or talk about the ongoing trial. 

Previously, the ousted leader has been sentenced to eleven years imprisonment after she was convicted of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, which was in violation of the coronavirus restrictions at the time, as well as sedition and corruption charges. Meanwhile, supporters of the former leader, including human rights groups, have claimed that the trial(s) is only a means of discrediting her and legitimizing the military’s coup. It is pertinent to note that the military coup had led to what most experts would consider a situation of civil unrest across the country. 

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According to international media, the new trial against Suu Kyi began on Monday which was confirmed by a legal official, who wished to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to share the information. Under the new case, Suu Kyi is accused of allegedly receiving money in 2019 and 2020 from tycoon Maung Weik, known for a past conviction in drug trafficking.  

An official from the anti-corruption commission, Ye Htet, reportedly gave testimony in the court proceedings on Monday and said that Maung Weik had made the payments in 2019 and 2020. The official added that they are being treated as separate counts against Suu Kyi. 

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It is pertinent to note that to date, Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with twelve counts of corruption. She was convicted on one count last week and given a five-year prison sentence after the former leader was found guilty of having received up to $600,000 along with seven gold bars from Phyo Min Thein, former Chief Minister of Yangon. Meanwhile, Kyi’s legal council is attempting to overturn the court verdict. 

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