Myanmar Military Detained 220 Political Prisoners Since Coup: AAPP

By The Irrawaddy 11 February 2021

A total of 220 people political prisoners have been detained since the Feb. 1 coup, including government officials, national leaders, election commissioners, political activists, monks, writers and peaceful demonstrators, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

More than half of those detained are from the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The party’s chairwoman, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and vice-chairs, President U Win Myint and Mandalay chief minister U Zaw Myint Maung, and nearly 50 senior NLD figures, including senior members and Union ministers, are among the detainees. At least 80 party members were also taken into detention by the military in the first nine days after the coup. A majority of the arrested NLD leaders and members were reelected in the Nov. 8 general election.

By Feb. 9, only 20 of those detained had been released and the remaining 200 are still being held.

Ko Aung Myo Kyaw of the AAPP said the number of detainees is undoubtedly rising amid arbitrary arrests on Wednesday night and other arrests which are yet to be confirmed.

Election commissioners who oversaw the 2020 general election have started being detained and some election sub-commission offices have been raided by the military, according to the AAPP.

Ko Aung Myo Kyaw said there are many detainees whose location and condition are unknown, even to family members.

Locking up civilians who are not charged for more than 24 hours and not contacting their families is unlawful detention, he said.

Prominent democracy activist Ko Mya Aye, filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, student activist Ko Min Thway Thit, writer and Yangon City Development Committee member Daw Than Myint Aung, writers Maung Thar Cho and U Htin Linn Oo and well-known military critic Mandalay monk U Thawbita and other monks Shwe Nya War Sayadaw and Sayadaw U Arriyawuntha are also among those detained since Monday.

“We strongly condemn shooting at peaceful protesters, unjust arrests and breaking into the NLD offices at night. These all are shameful acts.”

Some detainees are likely to face charges under the Natural Disaster Management Law, he said. Among the first to be prosecuted are U Thawbita and Karen politician U Saw Maung Kyi, who were both sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for online defamation and incitement, respectively.

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint were also charged under the Export and Import Law and Natural Disaster Management Law, respectively, and both were remanded until February 15.

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