Myanmar Military Govt Files Cases Against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President
The Irrawaddy Wed, February 3, 2021
Myanmar President U Win Myint (center left) and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (center right). / President’s Office
YANGON—The military regime sued Myanmar President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under the Export and Import Law and the Natural Disaster Management Law respectively on Wednesday, two days after their detention following a coup.
The duo were remanded in custody (from Feb. 1-15) by the Dekkhina District Court in Naypyitaw for further investigation—a move to legalize the detentions of the two leaders, who have been in custody since Monday morning.
According to the remand request letter submitted by police, the president was sued under Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law for breaching campaign guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions set by the country’s health ministry.
According to the police statement, the 70-year-old president is accused of violating the restrictions by “greeting a National League for Democracy campaign rally with his wife and daughter at the gate of his presidential residence in September.”The statement claimed that the rally was attended by around 760 people. Even though the ministry set a maximum attendance of 50 people for political campaign events amid COVID-19, other political parties staged mass rallies as well.
If found guilty, the president would face a maximum three-year prison sentence.
Meanwhile, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in custody since 7.00 a.m. on Monday, is accused of “illegal importing and using of radio transmitting and receiving equipment” at her residence in Naypyitaw. The devices are widely available on the market in Myanmar.
The police said nine ICOMs used by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s security team were found during a search by a team from the Commander in Chief’s Office (Army) on Monday morning.
She is accused of breaching the Export and Import Law, which bans the importing of restricted items without permission.
If found guilty, the 75-year-old would face three years’ imprisonment.
It is not clear from the remand order whether the President and State Counselor are being held in jails or are under house arrest.
Following the lawsuits on Wednesday, Malaysian MP Charles Santiago, chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), described the charges as “ludicrous”. He called the action “an absurd move by the junta to try to legitimize their illegal power grab from Myanmar’s democratically-elected government”, referring to the NLD’s landslide victory in November’s election.
“We have been here before. ASEAN and the international community all know where this is likely to head: back to a ruthless military dictatorship. They must respond urgently and comprehensively to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners and help restore democracy,” he said.