Military Regime Issues Arrest Warrants for 17 Elected MPs for Incitement

By The Irrawaddy 16 February 2021

Myanmar Military’s State Administrative Council has issued arrest warrants for 17 legally-elected members of Parliament charging them with incitement.

The 17 are members of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), an NLD-dominated and self-declared parliamentary committee that was formed after the coup to counter military rule.

The warrants were issued at each township the MPs represent, under article 505 [b] of the Penal Code, according to sources.

On Saturday, the military also issued arrest warrants for seven people, including the prominent political activists U Min Ko Naing and U Jimmy, singers and celebrities, accusing them of incitement against the regime.

The military this time made no public announcement about the warrants against the CRPH members.

The CRPH was initially formed with 15 members of the National League for Democracy on Feb. 5. On Feb. 10 two ethnic MPs from Kayah State Democratic Party and Ta’ang National Party joined the CRPH.

The military seized power on Feb. 1, the day the Union Parliament was scheduled to convene, and detained the country’s democratically elected leaders, including the State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the President U Win Myint. The military confined the MPs-elect for a few days in the government guest house where they had been accommodated after the parliament was dissolved.

The NLD won a landslide in last year’s election, with 396 seats (83 %) out of total 476 elected seats in Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (or Union Parliament).

CRPH has performed a supportive role for the legitimate government of Myanmar, which is led by the detained President U Win Myint, and has denounced the military’s forced takeover of power.

The CRPH members said the regime’s township administrative councils are preparing legal action against them, but they haven’t seen the warrants yet.

Daw Myat Thida Tun, a member of CRPH and the upper house lawmaker from Mon State constituency no. 8, which represents Thanbyuzayat Township, said she heard about the arrest warrant on Monday and that the military’s Township Administrative Council was prepared to take legal action against her.

U Wai Phyo Aung, another member of CRPH and the lower house lawmaker from Thaketa township of Yangon Region, added, “In addition to forced seizures of power and detaining the President and State Counselor, who are being accused of different charges, they are planning to arrest us and charge us.”

The lawmakers said the regime’s leaders will try to do anything to legitimate their illegal seizure of power because “their action [the coup] was unconstitutional.”

They urged the international community to understand the situation and “stand with the people,” citing the nationwide mass rallies opposing the military regime.

“We, our people, cannot accept the military’s action, therefore many people, including the civil servants are participating in the protests and civil disobedience movement (CDM),” said Daw Myat Thida Tun.

She added that the CRPH is also trying to help those who joined the CDM, “through our CDM-Supporting Team at each township level because the [regime] is forcing civil servants to work for them.”

Following the coup, healthcare workers initiated the CDM movement and were soon joined by many other sectors, including the staff from different departments including police, electrical and energy, teachers, and railway transports.

The coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who declared himself as the chairman of the State Administration Council, said on Monday that they will take actions against those taking part in the CDM and crackdown on the “parallel government formation,” referring to the CRPH.

Meanwhile the SAC has revoked sections of privacy law and amended a few articles of the Penal Code.

U Wai Phyo Aung added, “We don’t accept the regime’s Council and we will counter with legal means. The Council immediately needs to transfer power to the people. And the international community must not acknowledge the coup leaders’ [State Administrative] Council.”

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