Court to hear appeal of Suu Kyi’s bribery conviction

The country’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear a special appeal of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s bribery conviction for allegedly receiving gold and thousands of dollars from a former political ally, legal officials said.

Suu Kyi, 77, was arrested when the army toppled her elected government in February 2021, and was tried on a range of charges for which she was sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison.

Her supporters and independent legal experts say the cases were politically motivated in an attempt to discredit her and legitimise the military’s takeover while preventing her from returning to politics.

Two legal officials familiar with Suu Kyi’s cases on Tuesday said the Supreme Court decided last Friday to hear the special appeal of the corruption case, in which she was convicted of receiving US$600,000 and seven gold bars in 2017-18 from Phyo Min Thein, the former chief minister of Yangon, the country’s biggest city.

She was sentenced to five years in prison in April last year after being found guilty of bribery.

Her lawyers, before they were served with gag orders in late 2021, said she rejected all the corruption allegations against her as “absurd.”

The legal officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to release information about the court’s decision, said it has not yet scheduled a date for the appeal hearing.

Her lawyers’ initial appeal of the conviction to the Supreme Court was rejected last November.

In April, the Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals of Suu Kyi’s convictions in five other corruption cases, and requests for reduced sentences in cases in which she was accused of breaching the official secrets act and election fraud.

The dates for the hearings for those appeals have also not been set. — AP

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