Aung San Suu Kyi to Serve 33 Years in Prison After Series of Trials

A court in junta-ruled Myanmar found deposed leader

Aung San Suu Kyi

guilty of corruption and handed down a seven-year sentence Friday—the last in a series of verdicts against her that add up to a total of 33 years in prison. 

The junta brought a host of charges against Ms. Suu Kyi after ousting her in a coup on Feb. 1, 2021. The allegations ranged from illegally importing walkie talkies and violating pandemic-linked restrictions to corruption and election fraud. Human-rights groups have called the trials a sham designed to lock up 77-year-old Ms. Suu Kyi for life and remove her as a political threat to the military. 

The trials weren’t open to the public. Ms. Suu Kyi has been detained from the day of the coup and since June has been held in a small bungalow in a prison compound in the capital Naypyitaw. Her lawyers have said in the past that the cases against her are politically motivated. 

The coup ended Myanmar’s transition to democracy and plunged the country into chaos. The military cracked down on peaceful protests against its rule, giving rise to an armed resistance it is now battling in many parts of the country. The junta has shown no signs of compromise, which means the chances of a political comeback for Ms. Suu Kyi are low. 

Ms. Suu Kyi is one of tens of thousands of people who were arrested during and after the coup. More than 13,000 people remain in detention, according to the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Earlier this year, the junta executed two prominent democracy activists, leading to widespread criticism.  

The military has pledged to hold elections next year, which political analysts say are aimed at installing junta leader

Min Aung Hlaing

as president. The opposition is likely to boycott the elections. 

Ms. Suu Kyi rose as a democratic icon in the 1980s fighting a military dictatorship that had ruled Myanmar since 1962. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her nonviolent resistance. As part of the country’s shift to democracy, she became Myanmar’s de facto elected leader in 2015, but shared power with the military. 

In that role, she faced widespread international criticism for defending a brutal military campaign against her country’s Rohingya minority. She remained popular in her country and her party beat its military-backed rivals in elections in 2020. The army staged a coup shortly before her government was to be sworn in for a second term.

Write to Niharika Mandhana at

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