Burma’s civilian government charges Aung San Suu Kyi

Image copyright AFP Image caption Suu Kyi’s son has said the military will always oppose reconciliation

Burma’s military government has filed new allegations of corruption against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state media reports.

The eight new charges involve foreign exchange trading and business dealings, she said.

Ms Suu Kyi won last year’s election but the de facto leader of the government is still seen as a ward of the army.

She has responded to the charges by urging the government not to charge her with treason.

If convicted, Ms Suu Kyi could face up to seven years in prison.

‘Doubtless very honourable’

Speaking to the AP news agency, Ms Suu Kyi said the Myanmar government had filed the charges against her “under their own laws”.

“They do so without any interference from the person I seek to lead,” she said.

Burma’s 2008 Constitution bars Ms Suu Kyi from holding office, making her a former political prisoner and one of the only people in the country with no legal status.

“The person in question is someone who has demonstrated her political courage and who believes in the equality of women,” Ms Suu Kyi said, referring to herself as the “disadvantaged”.

“I don’t believe that a person of her standing and capacity should be tarred with that brush.”

A statement on the government’s website said the new charges related to foreign exchange trading. The other allegations include dealing in business affairs overseas without permission and lying about assets in Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi’s lawyer said the new charges were “a demonstration of the distrust and doubt that exists in the minds of the people of the country over her leadership”.

Ms Suu Kyi has long been a critic of the military, which ruled for nearly half a century after it ousted a democratically elected government in 1962.

She refused to bow to the generals who awarded her and her National League for Democracy party seats in the national parliament.

However, since taking power, she has appointed members of the military to the top civilian posts.

Mr Suu Kyi’s son, Kim Aris, said that the high point of his life had been seeing his mother return to civilian life, but that her political opponents would always oppose her reconciliatory approach.

Ms Suu Kyi accused the government of resorting to unproven and politically motivated charges to distract attention from national priorities.

“Each day that passes, I am more convinced that it is these ordinary people, the grassroots voters, who deserve the honour of my leadership more than anyone else.”

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