Suu Kyi’s former bodyguard detained by junta for Facebook posts, alleged links to NUG

The military council arrested a former bodyguard of detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi last week and accused her of incitement over Facebook posts supporting the ousted leader, as well as links to Myanmar’s underground government. 

Cherry Htet, a police sub-lieutenant at Special Branch, was detained on Thursday in Naypyitaw under section 505a of the penal code. The junta later said she has links to the National Unity Government (NUG), which it has branded a terrorist organisation. 

“They accused her of writing things on a Facebook account with the name Cherry Htet but that account is still posting statuses even after her arrest,” said a source close to the police. “I think it’s a fake account.” 

Cherry Htet has been under surveillance by the junta since the February 1 coup and was reportedly coerced into working at the Myanmar Police Force Headquarters office on Zayahtani road in Naypyitaw, a friend of hers told Myanmar Now. 

She served on Suu Kyi’s personal security team during foreign and domestic trips under the National League for Democracy government and works for Special Branch’s anti-terrorism department. Her boss, police captain Zaw Win Tun, is the plaintiff in her case. 

Junta forces seized Cherry Htet’s phone and computer on September 14 and she has effectively been under a form of house arrest since the coup, the friend said. She is being interrogated at the Pyinmana central police police station in Naypyitaw, both sources said.

Suu Kyi once gave Cherry Htet a necklace she reportedly designed herself as a birthday gift, according to a Facebook post from February last year. 

Junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told BBC Burmese on Sunday that Cherry Htet was being interrogated for her alleged connections to the NUG. 

Hundreds of police officers have joined the Civil Disobedience Movement in a bid to topple the dictatorship. The junta has been closely monitoring the online activity of police officers, especially lieutenants and sub-lieutenants, said a police officer on condition of anonymity. 

“Their major concern is us using Facebook,” he said.

Cherry Htet and other members of Suu Kyi’s security team were not present when the State Counsellor was detained on the night of the coup, Suu Kyi’s lawyers have said.

Zaw Naing Win, a former personal assistant to Suu Kyi at the foreign affairs ministry, was reportedly sentenced to seven years in prison in July after he resigned from his post in the aftermath of the military’s power grab.  

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