Former Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi charged with corruption

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After being overthrown in a military coup, the former de facto head of the Burmese civilian government, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been charged with corruption. She is accused by the junta of having collected more than half a million dollars and eleven kilos of gold in bribes.

Four months after the February 1 coup and the dismissal of the civilian government of Aung Saan Suu Kyi, the former Burmese leader has been charged with corruption.

Arrested on the morning of February 1 and since under house arrest, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate is already facing numerous legal proceedings ranging from the illegal possession of walkie-talkies to incitement to public disturbance and violation. of a law on state secrets.

She is now also indicted for having illegally collected “600,000 dollars and 11 kilos of gold” from the former minister in charge of the Yangon region, Phyo Min Thein, the official newspaper The Global New reported on Thursday (June 10th). Light of Myanmar. She is also accused of having abused her authority to lease land on favorable terms for the charitable foundation Daw Khin Kyi, which she chaired.

“These accusations are absurd”

Aung San Suu Kyi “committed acts of corruption using her position. She was therefore charged under article 55 of the anti-corruption law,” the newspaper said. “These accusations are absurd,” denounced one of his lawyers, Khin Maung Zaw. The aim is to “keep her away from the (political) scene of the country and to tarnish her image”.

“Successive military regimes in Burma have always wanted to blame their opponents for corruption,” lamented analyst Richard Horsey from the International Crisis Group (ICG) analysis center.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, can be banned from politics and faces long years in prison if convicted. The junta continues to tighten its judicial grip against the former leader, “in good health”, according to her lawyers, despite the weeks spent in solitary confinement.

Two trials are already scheduled in the capital Naypyidaw, the first to start on June 14. She could be called to appear later in Yangon for the section concerning the violation of the text on state secrets.

To justify its passage in force, the army alleged “huge” fraud in the legislative elections of November 2020, won overwhelmingly by the National Line for Democracy (LND), the party of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Burmese generals threaten to dissolve this formation. A decision in this direction could soon be announced on this subject, the electoral commission close to the regime having indicated that its investigation was almost completed.

A protest movement violently repressed

Almost daily demonstrations, economy paralyzed by massive strikes, resurgence of clashes between the army and rebel ethnic factions: Burma has been in turmoil since the putsch which ended a democratic parenthesis of 10 years.

The protest movement is bloodily suppressed by the security forces who have killed in recent months nearly 860 civilians, including women and children, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). Nearly 5,000 people have been taken into custody, as NGOs denounce cases of extra-judicial executions, torture or violence against women.

These abuses have prompted many opponents of the junta to form a “People’s Defense Force” (PDF), made up of civilians who retaliate against the security forces with homemade weapons. But these citizen militias find it difficult to compete with the army, which has very significant resources.

Aung San Suu Kyi has already spent more than 15 years under house arrest under previous military dictatorships, before being released in 2010 and taking the head of the country five years later.

Long an icon of democracy compared to Nelson Mandela, Gandhi or Martin Luther King, his image has been considerably tarnished in recent years following the tragedy of the Rohingya Muslims who fled, in 2017, by the hundreds of thousands the atrocities of the army to take refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.

The fact that she has become a political prisoner again and the trials that await her could be a game-changer again.

With AFP

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