Myanmar Supreme Court rejects Suu Kyi appeals of six graft cases

Former democracy icon is serving 27 years for defaming military and undermining state order.
By RFA Burmese
2023.10.06
Myanmar Supreme Court rejects Suu Kyi appeals of six graft cases Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi listens to an address at the ASEAN-Australia special summit in Sydney in 2018.
Dan Himbrechts/Pool/AFP

The Myanmar junta’s high court on Friday rejected appeals of all six corruption convictions handed to former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Union Supreme Court announced that it would not hear challenges to the original rulings in the six graft cases – four related to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation and two related to businessman Maung Weik.

Junta authorities arrested the 78-year-old Suu Kyi in the immediate aftermath of the military’s Feb. 1, 2021, coup, along with former President Win Myint and other leaders of the deposed National League for Democracy, or NLD, party.

She was serving a 33-year prison sentence for convictions in 19 cases but on Aug. 1 was partially pardoned for five of them as part of a general amnesty, reducing her punishment to 27 years in jail. They relate to the Natural Disaster Management Law, the Communication Law and one case under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code, which deals with defaming the country’s military and undermining state order.

The 72-year-old Win Myint, who is reportedly in poor health, had his 12 years of combined prison sentences reduced by four years in August.

Suu Kyi is also suffering from “urgent” dental issues in detention, sources told RFA, but junta authorities have ignored her request for permission to seek treatment. In fact, it is not even clear where she is being detained.

The Associated Press cited a legal official who is familiar with Suu Kyi’s cases as saying that of the six appeals rejected on Friday, four were convictions for abusing her position to rent property in the capital Naypyitaw and Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. The cases alleged that she had obtained the land at below-market prices for a charitable foundation that she chaired and had built a residence for herself on one plot with money donated for the foundation.

The legal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the other appeal cases were related to two counts of corruption in which Suu Kyi was found guilty of receiving a total of US$550,000 between 2018 and 2020 from Maung Weik, a tycoon who in 2008 had been convicted of drug trafficking.

The Union Supreme Court also rejected appeals of five of Suu Kyi’s convictions on Aug. 29.

The legal team representing Suu Kyi and Win Myint had repeatedly requested meetings with the two NLD leaders to discuss their appeals since January, but were never allowed to do so.

Sources with ties to Myanmar’s judiciary told RFA Burmese that the remaining cases for which Suu Kyi was imprisoned are still in the appeal process at the Union Supreme Court.

Translated by Myo Min Aung. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.

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