Sunday, March 7, 2021

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi hit with import law charge after coup

Party members have had no direct contact with Suu Kyi, though a neighbour is said to have sighted her in her Naypyidaw residence, where she was believed to be held under house arrest.

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A Myanmar court has charged ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi with breaching an import and export law, a spokesman from her National League for Democracy (NLD) said Wednesday.

The charges come days after the military staged a lightning coup, detaining Suu Kyi and Myanmar president Win Myint, and the army chief General Min Aung Hlaing was granted “legislative, judicial and executive powers”.

The swift power seizure effectively returns a nation at the edge of democracy to direct military rule.

Since Monday’s putsch, party members have had no direct contact with Suu Kyi, though NLD press officer Kyi Toe said Tuesday a neighbour sighted her in her Naypyidaw residence, where she was believed to be held under house arrest.

On Wednesday, Kyi Toe said the party received “reliable information” that a court in Naypyidaw had remanded Suu Kyi and Win Myint for 14 days.

“Dakhinathiri court has given a 14-day remand from Feb 1 to Feb 15 against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under the charge of violating the import/export law,” he wrote on his official Facebook page.

He added that Win Myint was also under remand orders by the court, accused of breaching the National Disaster Management law.

NLD officials and Naypyidaw police officials could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

According to stamped police documents seen by AFP, a military team from the commander-in-chief’s office searched Suu Kyi’s residence on Monday – the day of the coup – at 6.30pm.

They found at least 10 walkie talkies and other communication devices.

These devices were considered evidence to “file a lawsuit to take action against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who had imported and used these communication devices without permission”.

As for Win Myint, police documents say the president, his wife and his daughter had taken part in a campaign event in September which drew hundreds of people – actions that flouted coronavirus restrictions.

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