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Myanmar’s military junta formally charged Aung San Suu Kyi and officials in her ousted government with corruption on Thursday, ahead of the start of the deposed civilian leader’s trial next week.
Corruption is the most serious of the seven cases brought against Ms Suu Kyi since she was detained during the February coup, and she faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission has inspected corruption cases against ex-state counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” the regime’s ministry of information posted on its website. “She was found guilty of committing corruption using her rank.”
The notification highlighted allegations by the Anti-Corruption Commission that Ms Suu Kyi had illegally accepted $600,000 (£436,000) as well as gold from the former Yangon region chief minister, reported Bloomberg.
It also accused her of misusing her authority to lease a Yangon property as headquarters of a non-profit charity she founded in 2012, resulting in the state losing out on $3.15 million in revenue.
It also alleged that the previous civilian government - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - had lost significant sums of money in land deals.
Ms Suu Kyi, who is being held in an undisclosed location, already faced a raft of charges from the alleged illegal possession of walkie-talkie radios to breaching coronavirus rules and breaking the Official Secrets Act, which carries a 14-year prison term.
Her supporters say the cases are politically motivated.
Earlier this week, her legal team said her trial will start on June 14 and is expected to wrap up by July 26.
Myanmar was plunged into political and economic chaos when the army overthrew Ms Suu Kyi, accusing her party of fraud during in November elections, which it won in a landslide. The claim of fraud has been denied by the previous election commission and international monitors.
The coup triggered nationwide demonstrations, and a brutal junta response. Myanmar's military has killed more than 850 people, and detained nearly 5,000, according to the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
Mass deaths from starvation, disease and exposure could occur in Kayah State after many of the 100,000 forced to flee into forests from junta bombs are now cut off from food, water and medicine by the junta. The international community must act. My full statement below. pic.twitter.com/69fxZHRMN7
— UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews (@RapporteurUn) June 8, 2021
Analysts have warned the country is hurtling towards becoming a failed state as the army struggles to keep basic services like education, healthcare and the banking system functioning.
It still faces daily protests, strikes by civil servants that have paralysed the economy, and a rash of assassinations and bomb attacks in cities.
There has also been a resurgence of conflicts in Myanmar's borderlands where the military has launched airstrikes, forcing tens of thousands to flee into the jungle.
Tom Andrews, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar warned this week of “mass deaths” from starvation and disease in the wake of fighting between rebels and junta forces in eastern states.
Locals have accused the military of firing artillery shells that have landed near villages and the UN estimates around 100,000 people have been displaced.
“Mass deaths from starvation, disease and exposure could occur in Kayah State after many of the 100,000 forced to flee into forests from junta bombs are now cut off from food, water and medicine by the junta. The international community must act,” tweeted Mr Andrews.