Five new charges against the country’s deposed leader concern the rental, purchase and maintenance of a helicopter used by her government.
Myanmar’s military-installed government has filed five new corruption charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi in connection with licensing to rent and buy a helicopter, an official said.
Aung San Suu Kyi, detained since last February’s military coup, is already on trial on five other corruption charges. Each is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine.
Suu Kyi has previously faced other charges and was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of illegally importing and possessing two-way radios and violating coronavirus restrictions.
Her supporters and human rights groups say the cases against her were devised by the military to justify the takeover and prevent her from returning to politics.
The military government has rejected the criticism.
“No one is above the law. I just want to say that she would be judged according to the law,” said government spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun when asked about the matter at a news conference on Friday.
The military takeover prevented Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in office.
The military said it acted on widespread fraud in the November 2020 general election, but independent polls insist there is little evidence of that.
The takeover has been met with widespread protests from the population, and Myanmar is now beset by deadly armed resistance to the army’s rule.
At least 1,469 people have been killed and more than 11,500 detained since the February 1 coup last year, according to the Myanmar rights watchdog Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
The five new charges concern the rental, purchase and maintenance of a helicopter, said a bailiff familiar with the case and spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release information.
State media had announced in December that Suu Kyi and Win Myint, who served as president in her administration, would be prosecuted under the anti-corruption law for renting a helicopter.
The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said the Anti-Corruption Commission found they had abused their power and caused a loss of state funds by neglecting financial regulations in granting permission to the then Minister of Social Affairs and Employment. Business, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat. Yes to rent and buy a helicopter.
Win Myat Aye is now Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in the Government of National Unity established as a parallel government by opponents of military rule. The underground organization is considered illegal by the military.
Suu Kyi’s other corruption charges include alleged bribery and abuse of power in connection with real estate transactions.
She is also being tried on charges of violating the State Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.
The military government has said it and colleagues will also be tried for alleged electoral fraud.