Burma

Myanmar Regime Jails Former Election Chief and his Staff

By The Irrawaddy 8 July 2022

A Myanmar junta court inside Naypyitaw Prison has sentenced the former Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman and two former UEC members from the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government to three years in prison, a source familiar with the matter told The Irrawaddy.

UEC chairman U Hla Thein, secretary U Myint Naing and member U Than Htay have been detained since last year’s coup. They were charged under Section 130(a) of the Penal Code for alleged violations of electoral laws during the 2020 general election.

Despite restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UEC managed to successfully hold the 2020 poll and voter turnout was high, despite coronavirus.

The NLD led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory, as it did in the 2015 election. Local and international monitoring groups said the poll was largely free and fair, despite some flaws.

However, junta boss Senior General Min Aung Hlaing subsequently seized power from the NLD government, using electoral fraud as an excuse and detaining and imprisoning State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint on an array of charges.

The military regime has also detained NLD ministers and lawmakers on a variety of charges. The junta has since formed a new election commission and appointed U Thein Soe as its head to oversee the election which the regime plans to hold in August 2023. The former major general oversaw the 2010 general election, which was widely criticized as a sham.

The U Thein Soe-led UEC has charged and fined over 2,400 members of the former election body, citing alleged fraud in the 2020 general election.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint are also among some 500 individuals, including NLD ministers, lawmakers and campaign team members, who have been charged with alleged violations of electoral laws. Penalties have been handed down to 170 of them, according to U Khin Maung Oo, a member of the junta-appointed UEC.

U Khin Maung Oo did not say if penalties had been given to the polling station agents of the Myanmar military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party who were caught red-handed with counterfeit rubber stamps during the 2020 voting.

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