Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted president Win Myint charged under laws that carry three-year sentences

Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies that soldiers found in her home during early morning raids as the military staged a coup on Monday, according to a police document.

Ousted president Win Myint, meanwhile, was hit with a charge under the Natural Disaster Management Law for breaching regulations aimed at curbing Covid-19 while campaigning in last year’s election, a separate document said. 

A task force led by Major Lin Htut Oo from the office of the commander-in-chief found 10 walkie-talkies during the raid on Aung San Suu Kyi’s Naypyitaw residence. She has been charged under article 8 of the Export and Import Law.

The police documents were submitted to the Zabuthiri Township court in Naypyitaw on the day of the coup. It is unclear if Suu Kyi and Win Myint were brought in for a hearing.

They have each been remanded in custody until February 15, when they would be due to appear in court unless police extend the remand. Both charges carry a maximum prison sentence of up to three years.

The charge against Win Myint relates to a campaign event he attended on September 20. The police document said Win Myint and his family members greeted supporters outside his residence during the event, which was attended by about 760 people riding in vehicles. 

He is being charged under article 25 of the natural disaster law for breaching Covid-19 restrictions issued by the health ministry, the document said. 

Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party won a landslide victory in last year’s election, securing over 80% of seats across both houses of parliament.

But the military seized power on Monday shortly before the Lower House was set to convene, and in doing so enshrine the result of the November 8 poll. 

As well as Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint, soldiers detained chief ministers and ministers and confined newly elected MPs to their living quarters in Naypyitaw.

The military appointed Myint Swe, a former general who had been serving as a vice president, as acting President. Myint Swe then declared a one-year state of emergency and transferred power to the commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing.

The military announced in a broadcast on Myawaddy TV that new general elections would be held and power would be returned to the winning party. 

The military also claimed it had found over 10 million irregularities on voting lists across the country that could indicate widespread electoral fraud. Local election observers said last week the result of the election was credible and reflected the will of the people. 

A new 11-member State Administrative Council, chaired by Min Aung Hlaing, was formed on Tuesday.

Eight of the council’s members are from the army. Phado Man Nyein Maung, a former leading figure at the Karen National Union, is also on the council, as are two former NLD figures – Thein Nyunt and Khin Maung Swe – who co-founded the National Democratic Party.

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