Myanmar’s Nobel laureate and deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to a further three years in prison by a court in the military-ruled nation, bringing her combined jail term to 26 years.
Charged with accepting bribes, a court on Wednesday found the 77-year-old guilty on two counts of corruption and sentenced her to three years in jail on each count.
However, the court ruled that the sentences would run concurrently, meaning that three years have been added to her already hefty prison sentence which now stands at 26 years.
Aung San Suu Kyi has called the accusations against her absurd and denied any wrongdoing.
She is being held in solitary confinement in the country’s capital, Naypyidaw, and her trials have been conducted in closed courts. She is also on trial for five other corruption charges.
Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok, said the allegations against Aung San Suu Kyi were made by a prominent businessman who had himself run into trouble with authorities in the past.
“He said he visited her house on a number of occasions. Left parcels wrapped in black paper with sums ranging between 100 and 150,000 US dollars for her in return for preferential treatment in government tenders his company had made,” Cheng said.
“Those accusations were actually broadcast live on Myanmar TV after the coup. He himself is a rather dubious witness or witness of questionable quality. He’s previously served prison terms for drug possession. Nonetheless, she was found guilty on both charges today,” Cheng said.
Cheng said the objective of the court verdicts and sentences appeared to be aimed at removing Aung San Suu Kyi “completely from the political scene”.
Opponents of the military have long said the charges against Aung San Suu Kyi are aimed at blocking her from ever getting involved in politics again or trying to challenge the military’s grip on power.
“I think they know very well that if there was any form of election and Aung San Suu Kyi was on the ballot paper, she would win overwhelmingly as she has done in the past,” Cheng said.
More than one million people have been displaced since the coup in February 2021, according to the United Nations, more than 2,300 people have been killed and over 15,000 jailed, according to monitors.