According to a source familiar with the proceedings, a court in Myanmar‘s military-ruled country sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in prison on Wednesday after finding her guilty in the first of 11 corruption allegations against her.
The Nobel Laureate, who led Myanmar for five years before being deposed in a coup in early 2021, has been charged with at least 18 counts, each of which carries a potential sentence of roughly 190 years in prison if convicted.
The judgement was given down by the judge in the capital, Naypyitaw, within moments of the court convening, according to the source, who did not want to be identified since the trial is being held behind closed doors and information is restricted.
It was unclear if Suu Kyi, the 76-year-old symbol of Myanmar’s anti-military uprising, would be sent to a prison to serve her term.
She has been imprisoned in an undisclosed location since her arrest, where junta chief Min Aung Hlaing previously stated that she may remain following her convictions in December and January for comparatively minor offenses, for which she was sentenced to a total of six years.
The most recent case involved charges that Suu Kyi collected 11.4 kg (402 oz) of gold and $600,000 in cash from her protege-turned-accuser, former Yangon city chief minister Phyo Min Thein.
The claims had been labeled “absurd” by Suu Kyi.
Any court judgements, according to Nay Phone Latt, a former official in Suu Kyi’s deposed ruling party, would be temporary because military authority would not endure long.
“We do not recognize the terrorist junta’s rulings, legislation, or courts… neither do the people,” said Nay Phone Latt, who is a member of the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), which has launched a people’s uprising against military rule.
“It doesn’t matter to me how long they want to jail them for, whether it’s one year, two years, or however long they want. This isn’t going to last.”
The junta has refused to let her come, even if it is accompanied by a special Southeast Asian ambassador tasked with resolving the problem.
Suu Kyi is on trial, according to the military, because she committed crimes and is being treated fairly by an impartial judiciary. It has dismissed international criticism as meddling in the affairs of a sovereign nation.
The US and British embassies in Myanmar did not immediately reply to demands for comment on the ruling on Wednesday.
Suu Kyi has been accused with a variety of offences, ranging from violations of election and state secrets laws to incitement and corruption, since her detention on the morning of the February 1 coup last year, accusations her supporters claim are fabricated to derail any hope of a political comeback.