Myanmar Junta Moves Detained President U Win Myint to Prison From House Arrest

By The Irrawaddy 19 January 2023

The Myanmar junta has moved civilian President U Win Myint of the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government to Taungoo Prison in Bago Region from an undisclosed location where he is believed to have been under house arrest since the military coup in 2021.

In June last year, detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of the NLD was moved from house arrest to solitary confinement in Naypyitaw Prison.

A source from the junta’s Home Affairs Ministry confirmed the transfer and said the detained President was moved after the minister inspected a special facility where U Win Myint is now being held inside the prison.

The junta’s Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Soe Htut inspected Taungoo Prison and instructed staff to pay special attention to security, and conduct anti-riot drills, on Jan. 12.

According to a source close to the matter, the ousted President was taken to the prison on Jan. 14, two days after the inspection, and placed in a new building next to the prison hospital within the compound.

“It is confirmed that the President has been moved to Taungoo Prison,” another source said, adding that since his arrival, security has been beefed up at the prison.

President U Win Myint, who is now 71, has been held by the junta since the coup on Feb. 1, 2021, when the military overthrew the civilian government. Until his move last week, it is believed he was detained under house arrest at a secret location in Naypyitaw. He has been tried and sentenced on charges, widely dismissed as trumped up, of incitement, violation of COVID-19 rules, and corruption.

In court testimony, the detained President exposed the illegality of the coup by revealing the details of his arrest, explaining that the military attempted to force his resignation in order to legitimize the coup by threatening him with “harm” if he refused. U Win Myint told the generals that he would rather die than consent to their proposal.

The reason for the transfer is not yet known and the junta has yet to release a statement about it.

People released from Taungoo Prisoon early this month also confirmed that additional small buildings were being constructed inside the prison compound.

Before the arrival of President U Win Myint, detained Shan State Chief Minister Dr. Lin Htut and Shan State Minister of Planning and Finance U Soe Nyunt Lwin, members of the ousted civilian government, were also transferred to the prison.

Recently, the junta sentenced President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional seven years’ imprisonment each on a final set of corruption charges, ending a series of legal cases filed against the duo.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, has been sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison, and President U Win Myint to 12 years.