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Myanmar's Suu Kyi hit by 5 new corruption charges

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FILE PHOTO: Myanmar's Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during an event at the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York City, U.S. September 21, 2016.  REUTERS/Bria Webb/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Myanmar's Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during an event at the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York City, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Bria Webb/File Photo

YANGON: Myanmar's ousted former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and deposed President Win Myint will face five additional charges of corruption, each carrying a maximum of 15 years in prison, a source familiar with the proceedings said on Friday.


The cases centre on the hiring a helicopter while in office, said the source, who declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to media.


Five more corruption cases against Suu Kyi have been taken on by a court in the military-ruled country, the latest in a string of cases brought against her since she was overthrown in a coup last year.


Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 76, is on trial in more than a dozen cases that carry combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years in prison. She has been sentenced to a total of six years in detention so far and denies all charges.


The following is a summary of the sentences and cases against Suu Kyi, based on information available to Reuters:


- Intent to incite, after her party sent a letter in February to international organisations asking them not to recognise the military government (Penal Code, Article 505). Sentenced to two years in prison in December 6, 2021.


- Breaches of coronavirus regulations during her party's election campaigning in September 2020 (Natural Disaster Management Law, Article 25). Sentenced to two years in prison on January 10, 2022, after a two-year sentence in December 2021 on a similar charge.


- Possession in February of unlicensed walkie-talkies and a set of signal jammers (Export and Import Law, Article 8). One case, maximum 3 years in prison. (Telecommunications Law, Article 67). Sentenced on January 10 to two years and one year in jail, respectively, on the charges. The sentences are to be served concurrently.


- Obtaining, collecting, recording, or publishing or communicating secret information that could be useful to an enemy (Official Secrets Act). One case, maximum 14 years in prison.


- Prosecution for "electoral fraud and lawless actions" (status unclear).


- Violations of the anti-corruption law (Sections 55, 63). 10 cases, maximum 15 years in prison for each.


Allegations include:


* Misusing funds from the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation Suu Kyi chaired, to build a home.


* Leasing government-owned land at a discounted rate.


* Accepting bribes totalling $600,000 and 11.4 kg of gold bars.


* Misuse of state funds for lease of a helicopter.


HEARINGS ON GENOCIDE CASE


Meanwhile, representatives of Myanmar's junta are expected to challenge the jurisdiction of the World Court to hear allegations the country committed genocide against its Rohingya minority in a fresh round of hearings from February 21, the attorney general of Gambia, which brought the case, told Reuters on Friday.


"A hybrid hearing (is) set to commence on the 21st of February, 2022," Gambian Attorney General Dawda Jallow said. He added that Aung San Suu Kyi, who led Myanmar's defence at the first public hearings in 2019 but has since been deposed by the military, had been formally replaced as its top representative in the case.


A hybrid hearing is a procedure where some of the participants are present in person and others participate online due to Covid-19 measures.


More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar after a military-led crackdown in 2017, and were forced into squalid camps across the border in Bangladesh. UN investigators concluded that the military campaign had been executed with "genocidal intent".


An ICJ spokesperson declined to confirm dates for a new hearing had been scheduled. - Reuters


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