“These are trumped-up charges, politically motivated, to keep her inside prison for such a long time and also are designed to keep her away from the political limelight,” said Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a Geneva-based activist with the pro-democracy group Burma Campaign UK. “And I’m sure the military is also thinking, by sentencing her, they are grabbing the hope away from people but, in reality, it’s doing completely the opposite because people haven’t lost hope. They are still standing up against the military.”

A court in military-ruled Myanmar convicted former leader Aung San Suu Kyi of corruption and sentenced her to five years in prison Wednesday in the first of several corruption cases against her, the AP reports.

Suu Kyi, 76, who was ousted by an army takeover last year, has denied the allegation that she accepted gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars in a bribe from a top political colleague, AP reports.

Her supporters and independent legal experts consider Suu Kyi’s prosecution an unjust attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s seizure of power while preventing her from returning to an active role in politics.

The daughter of Aung San, Myanmar’s founding father, Suu Kyi became a public figure in 1988 during a failed uprising against a previous military government when she helped found the National League for Democracy party. She spent 15 of the next 21 years under house arrest for leading a nonviolent struggle for democracy that earned her the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

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