Detained NLD vice chair meets lawyers in person for first time

The detained vice chair of the National League for Democracy (NLD) met with his lawyers in person for the first time at a court hearing on Wednesday and appeared in good shape even though he has leukemia, a party official said. 

Zaw Myint Maung, who is also the ousted chief minister of Mandalay, was charged with incitement under section 505b of the Penal Code after his party issued a series of statements calling on the public to resist the military coup. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to two years.

He was detained during early morning raids on February 1 and later placed under house arrest. An assistant director at the regional General Administration Department filed the incitement case against him on February 15. 

The 69-year-old, who is now being held at Mandalay’s Oboe prison, was receiving regular treatment for his leukemia before the coup. Family members and NLD colleagues have said they are worried about his condition.

The lawyers working on the chief minister’s defence met him at the Aungmyethazan township court on Wednesday. Before then, the lawyers and his wife were only able to talk to him via video call at previous hearings.

“His lawyers said he was healthy and not in bad shape. He looked haggard because of his age but still active,” Ponya Swe, an official from the NLD’s Mandalay Information Committee, told Myanmar Now.

During the hearing the defence asked the court to allow his family members to visit him in person.

Zaw Myint Maung has also been charged under section 29 of the Natural Disaster Management Law. The reasons for that charge are unclear, and Myanmar Now was unable to reach his lawyers at the time of reporting for clarification.

About 2740 people, including Aung San Suu Kyi, president Win Myint, and many NLD chief ministers have been detained since Min Aung Hlaing seized power.  

Many of NLD’s central executive members have also been charged with incitement under the same section as Zaw Myint Maung.

Mandalay’s regional environment minister, Myo Thit, and Shan state’s minister for planning and finance, Soe Nyunt Lwin, were charged with incitement on February 17 for declaring public holidays for government departments until the NLD returns to power. 


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