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Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Faces New Corruption Charges

ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Bangkok, June 7, 2021.
ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Bangkok, June 7, 2021.

News reports out of Myanmar say authorities have filed new corruption charges against deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Thursday the Anti-Corruption Commission has uncovered evidence the 75-year-old Suu Kyi has committed “corruption using her rank” in relation to previous charges that she accepted illegal payments of $600,000 in cash plus gold, as well as new accusations involving misuse of land for her charitable foundation.

The report said Suu Kyi has been charged under Section 55 of the Anti-Corruption Law, which calls for a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Khin Maung Zaw, Suu Kyi’s attorney, dismissed the new charges in a written statement to VOA’s Burmese Service, calling them “absurd” and “groundless.”

“Those who accuse her with greed and corruption are spitting towards the sky,” Khin Maung Zaw said.

Suu Kyi has been detained since the military overthrew her civilian government on February 1. She is also facing multiple criminal charges for possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, violating COVID-19 restrictions, breaching telecommunication laws and incitement to cause public unrest.

The Nobel Peace laureate is due to go on trial on two of those charges next Monday in, the capital, Naypyidaw.

Suu Kyi’s civilian government was overthrown nearly three months after her National League for Democracy party won parliamentary elections in a landslide. The junta has cited widespread electoral fraud in the November 8 election as a reason for the coup, an allegation the civilian electoral commission denied. The junta has threatened to dissolve the NLD over the allegations.

The coup triggered a crisis in the Southeast Asian country that led to deadly anti-junta demonstrations and clashes between several armed ethnic groups and the ruling junta.

In a campaign to quell the protests, the government has killed more than 800 protesters and bystanders since the takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which tracks casualties and arrests.

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