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Aung San Suu Kyi charged with possessing illegal walkie-talkies

The charges against Suu Kyi appear to carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

A protest in Japan in front of the Foreign Ministry in in Tokyo.
A protest in Japan in front of the Foreign Ministry in in Tokyo.
Image: Eugene Hoshiko

POLICE IN MYANMAR have charged deposed national leader Aung San Suu Kyi with having several illegally imported walkie-talkies in her home, members of her party said.

Suu Kyi was detained on Monday, along with other senior politicians, when the military staged a coup the day the newly elected parliament was supposed to open its session.

Party officials said she had not been moved from her residence, where she was being held under house arrest.

The charges against Suu Kyi appear to carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The charge sheets indicate the unregistered walkie-talkies were for use by Suu Kyi’s bodyguards.

National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Kyi Toe confirmed the charge on his Facebook page.

He also said the country’s ousted president, Win Myint, had been charged with violating natural disaster management law. An NLD politician, Phyo Zayar Thaw, also confirmed the charges.

Police and court officials in the capital Naypyitaw could not immediately be contacted.

Two steps back

The coup was a dramatic backslide for Myanmar, which had been making progress towards democracy, and highlighted the extent to which the generals have ultimately maintained control in in the Southeast Asian country.

The takeover also marked a shocking fall from power for Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who had lived under house arrest for years as she tried to push her country towards democracy and then became its de facto leader after her party won elections in 2015.

Suu Kyi had been a fierce critic of the army during her years in detention.

2.57844024 Source: PA Images

But after her shift from democracy icon to politician, she worked with the generals and even defended their crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, damaging her international reputation.

The military has announced it will hold power under a state of emergency for a year and then hold elections, the winners of which poll will take over government.

Suu Kyi’s party has called for non-violent resistance to the military takeover, and last night, scores of people in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, honked car horns and banged on pots and pans in a noise protest called by activists.

They included shouts wishing Suu Kyi good health and calling for freedom.

Supporters of the military have also staged demonstrations, attracting as many as 3,000 people to a rally held yesterday.

While in power, Myanmar’s new leader said the military government planned to investigate alleged fraud in last year’s elections.

thailand-myanmar-protest Burmese living in Thailand set a fire on a picture of Myanmar military Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. Source: Sakchai Lalit

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing announced the moves yesterday at the first meeting of his new government in the capital, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

The military has said one of its reasons for ousting the elected civilian government was because it failed to properly investigate its allegations of electoral irregularities.

The state Union Election Commission has said there were no significant problems with the vote.

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In the November 2020 election, Suu Kyi’s party captured 396 out of 476 seats contested in the lower and upper houses of parliament.

The main opposition party, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, won only 33 seats.

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, is automatically allocated 25% of the seats in the combined houses under the 2008 Constitution that was drafted under a previous military government.

The state newspaper reported that Min Aung Hlaing told Cabinet members that a new Union Election Commission, with what he described as independent and unbiased personnel, “would examine the voting data to find correct results, and actions would be taken accordingly in the process”.

He said voter lists would be scrutinised against family household registrations.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting yesterday but took no action.

The foreign ministers of the Group of 7 leading industrial nations have issued a statement calling for Suu Kyi and others to be released, the state of emergency to be scrapped, and power restored to the democratically-elected government.

It also expressed concern about restrictions on information, an apparent reference to cuts to phone and internet services on Monday.

“We stand with the people of Myanmar who want to see a democratic future,” it said

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