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Myanmar junta sentences former leader Suu Kyi to a further 6 years behind bars

Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to six more years in prison by junta-run Myanmar after it convicted her on four extra counts of corruption, state media reported on Tuesday.

The verdict marks another chapter in the series of clandestine trials against the Nobel laureate, increasing her jail term to 17 years.

Seventy-seven-year-old Ms Suu Kyi was previously found guilty of multiple offences including graft and election violations. She was sentenced, on Monday, on charges of misusing funds from a charity to erect a house and leasing government-owned land, according to the Myanmar News Agency (MNA).

Aside from her, three other former government officials were also sentenced to three years in prison on similar charges, state media reported.

Held in solitary confinement at a prison located in the capital Naypyidaw, Ms Suu Kyi has denied all charges against her. Expressions of concern about the deteriorating state of human rights in Myanmar came from international rights groups and world leaders, who, calling ongoing trials against Suu Kyi “unfair and unjust,” dismissed them.

The Myanmar military junta’s unjust conviction and sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is part of its methodical assault on human rights around the country,” said Elaine Pearson, acting Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a statement Monday.

“The military’s willingness to forcibly disappear the country’s high-profile civilian leader reveals the brutality that lesser-known political prisoners face,” Ms Pearson added.

UN envoy to address the “deteriorating situation”

Meanwhile, the UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, is set to visit the country to address the “deteriorating situation and immediate concerns”, amid domestic political turmoil and fraying ties between Myanmar and its Southeast Asian neighbours.

“The Special Envoy’s visit follows her extensive consultations with actors from across the political spectrum, civil society as well as communities affected by the ongoing conflict,” a UN statement reads.

Ever since its military overthrew an elected government led by Ms Suu Kyi early last year, the country has been deep in crisis. The junta launched a bloody crackdown on protests that opposed the disposal of the Nobel prize winner.

The UN Security Council called for an immediate cessation of all forms of violence and unimpeded humanitarian access.

No more details were provided by the UN about Ms Heyzer’s visit. A government spokesperson, Zaw Min Tun, said that Ms Heyzer was due to arrive on Wednesday.

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