Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi faces most serious corruption charge yet

image copyrightReutersimage captionMs Suu Kyi faces six other charges relating to alleged illegal imports of walkie-talkies and inciting public unrest.

Myanmar's military authorities have charged deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi with corruption, the most serious charge laid against her to date.

Ms Suu Kyi is accused of accepting cash and gold in bribes, and faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.

She faces six other charges relating to alleged illegal imports of walkie-talkies and inciting public unrest.

The former State Counsellor was arrested on 1 February when the military seized power in a coup.

She has since been held under house arrest, and little has been seen or heard of her apart from brief court appearances.

A press release by the military council on Thursday said Ms Suu Kyi had accepted $600,000 (£425,000) in bribes and seven pieces of gold.

It also alleged that the previous civilian government – the National League for Democracy (NLD) – had lost significant sums of money in land deals. Besides Ms Suu Kyi, several other former officials face similar corruption and bribery charges.

Prior to this, the most serious charge filed against Ms Suu Kyi had accused her of breaking the official secrets act – which carries a term of up to 14 years in jail.

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Myanmar's military seized power earlier in February on accusations of voter fraud.

But independent election monitors say the election was largely free and fair, and the charges against Ms Suu Kyi have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

The coup triggered widespread demonstrations, and Myanmar's military has brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

They have killed more than 800 people and detained nearly 5,000 to date, according to the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

media caption"They have guns but we have people": Inside Myanmar’s Spring RevolutionMyanmar in profile

  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule
  • Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
  • In 2017, Myanmar's army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing"

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