Junta detains wife and children of Mandalay MP wanted for incitement

The wife and two children of a National League for Democracy (NLD) MP were detained on Tuesday following a failed bid to arrest him, according to a source close to the lawmaker.

Su Su Htay, the wife of Mandalay Region MP Kyaw Soe Naing, was arrested along with their 18-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter at a monastery in the town of Myittha, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Kyaw Soe Naing was elected to Mandalay’s regional parliament last year as the NLD’s candidate for Ngazun Township constituency 2. He has been wanted for incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code since the February 1 coup.

“Kyaw Soe Naing and his family were staying in separate places. The family members were arrested in Myittha, where they were in hiding,” the source told Myanmar Now.

The junta’s armed forces had already raided the regional MP’s house in Ngazun Township on two previous occasions after a warrant was issued for his arrest, he added.

Another family friend decried the move, saying it was illegal for the regime to use relatives “as hostages” just because it was unable to arrest the wanted person.

“No law in Myanmar says that they can arrest a family member if they cannot catch the person they want. It’s unacceptable,” he said.

The arrest of Kyaw Soe Naing’s family is just the latest instance of the regime detaining relatives or friends of opponents who manage to evade capture.

Last month, the junta arrested the wife and two daughters of Soe Htay, a local anti-coup activist in Mogok, when it couldn’t track him down.

His five-year-old daughter was released about two weeks later, but his wife and an older daughter were both sentenced to three years in prison in mid-July.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least 76 people had been held hostage by the junta as of June 4, with the youngest being just two years old.

Of these, 28 are known to have been released and at least 45 are still in regime custody, the AAPP said.

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