Unable to find NLD official in hiding, military instead detains his 4-year-old daughter and other relatives 

The military regime on Monday detained six relatives of a National League for Democracy official – who is in hiding to avoid arrest – including his 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old nephew. 

Jar Lay, an information official for the party in Bago region’s Tharyarwaddy township, was hit with a charge under Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law on February 10. 

The section is used against people who breach Covid-19 regulations and carries a prison sentence of up to three years. The junta charged Aung San Suu Kyi under the same section, saying she breached rules aimed at curbing the virus during last year’s election.

The regime also detained Jar Lay’s two brothers-in-law, one of whom is a minor, his sister-in-law, and his mother-in-law. The family members were held for 15 hours at a military base and a police station. 

“If they hold a grudge against me and want to arrest me, they need to find me,” Jar Lay told Myanmar Now. “There is no reason to arrest innocent kids or take them anywhere. This is a violation of international laws and child rights… my daughter is so young.” 

Jar Lay has been helping to lead protests against the February 1 coup in Tharyarwaddy. After the police opened the case against him, the regime’s forces came looking for him at his family home at least six times, he said.

They threatened Jar Lay’s wife and pressured her to turn him in. His wife then left their 4-year-old daughter with her mother and sister before also going into hiding. 

“They came to search for me many, many times.” Jar Lay said, adding that there were “some arguments” between his wife and the regime’s forces. 

Early on Monday, Jar Lay’s mother-in-law travelled from Tharyarwaddy with the family to bring the daughter to her mother. But they were stopped at around 5:30am in the town of Thonse, about 11km from Tharyarwaddy, and arrested.

Soldiers took the six family members to a military base near Gway Chaung village, and then to the Tharyarwaddy police station to interrogate them. Afterwards, they sent them back to the military base. All six were then released at 8pm on Monday.

“Even if they didn’t do anything to them, taking children to these kinds of environments full of uniforms, places where it is not appropriate for children… caused them psychological trauma,” Jar Lay said. 


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