A court in military-ruled Myanmar convicted ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi on new charges Monday, adding a further six years to her prison sentence.
The trial was held behind closed doors, with no access for the media or the public, and her lawyers were barred from discussing the proceedings.
The six years follow a sentence of 11 years already handed down to Suu Kyi.
In the four cases decided on Monday, the former leader was alleged to have abused her position by renting public land at below-market rates and constructing a home with charitable donations. She received three-year sentences for each of the four crimes, but three of them will be served consecutively, giving her a total of six years in prison.
Ms. Suu Kyi denied all charges, with her lawyer expected to appeal.
Observers say the multiple allegations leveled against Suu Kyi and her associates are an attempt to legitimize the military’s seizure of power while also removing her from politics before the military’s promised election next year.
Other prominent members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party and her government have also been jailed and imprisoned, and authorities have indicated that the party may be dissolved before the next election.
Meanwhile, Australia and Japan are both fighting for the release of their citizens detained by the military regime in Myanmar.
The international community responded with concern last month when Myanmar executed four prisoners including a prominent lawmaker and democracy campaigner.
ASEAN responded by announcing earlier this month that Myanmar’s junta would be excluded from ASEAN meetings until the country makes sufficient progress toward peace, while UN envoy Noeleen Heyzer arrived in the country yesterday.