NationalNews

Myanmar’s former leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of corruption.

Ms Suu Kyi, who was ousted by a military takeover in February 2021, had denied the allegation that she had accepted gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars given to her as a bribe by a top political colleague.

The maximum punishment for the offence is 15 years in prison and a fine.

The 76-year-old was arrested when she was overthrown by the military who claimed there were unaddressed irregularities in an election her party won by a huge margin.

She is now on trial in multiple cases which could bring combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years.

Since her arrest, she has been charged with multiple crimes from violations of electoral and state secrets laws to incitement and corruption.

The charges she has faced include breaching of COVID rules during election campaigning, possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies and leasing government-owned land at a discount rate.

Wednesday’s case centred on allegations that she received $600,000 dollars (£476,814) and seven gold bars in 2017-18 from Phyo Min Thein, the former chief minister of Yangon, the country’s biggest city and a senior member of her political party.

Her lawyers rejected all his testimony against her as "absurd".

Supporters and independent legal experts have said her five-year sentence for corruption is unjust and meant to remove her from politics.

She had already been sentenced to six years imprisonment in other cases.

News of the verdict came from a legal official who asked not to be identified because he is not authorised to release information.

Ms Suu Kyi’s trial in the capital Naypyitaw was closed to the public, and her lawyers were barred from speaking to the press.

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