Myanmar’s Military Regime Brings Charges of Incitement Against Ousted NLD Ministers

By The Irrawaddy 18 February 2021

The military opened cases against two ousted chief ministers and a regional minister of National League for Democracy this week, accusing them of incitement against the regime, which seized power from Myanmar’s democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

On Thursday, detained Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, who is also the vice chairman of the NLD, was charged with incitement at the Aung Myay Thar Zan Township Court.

The assistant director from general administration department, Daw Nwe Ni Khine, brought the accusation. According to court records, she told the Aung Myay Thar Zan Township court that the charge is the result of five statements issued by the NLD in the past two weeks.

“These statements incite the public to go against the state or stability, therefore, the plaintiff filed against Dr. Zaw Myint Maung under the article 505 [b] of the Penal Code,” according to the court.

While a court hearing was in session on Thursday morning, citizens of Mandalay gathered in front of the Aung Myay Thar Zan Township court, to show solidarity with Dr. Zaw Myint Maung and Mandalay Mayor Dr. Ye Lwin. The hearing was conducted through videoconference. The court continued the case for Dr. Zaw Myint Maung to next Monday (Feb. 22).

There is no charge yet against Mayor Dr. Ye Lwin, who resigned from his position following the coup.

During the pre-dawn coup on Feb. 1, the military detained the NLD government leaders and have started filing different charges, beginning with the President U Win Myint and the State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The regime charged the duo under Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly breaching COVID-19 restrictions during the election campaign and filed additional charges against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under Import and Export Law, accusing her of possessing illegally imported walkie-talkies.

Following the military’s takeover of power, millions of Myanmar citizens across the country have taken to the streets to show their opposition to the regime.

The protesters at Aung Myay Thar Zan Township Court on Thursday echoed the nationwide call for the release of the detained leaders, denouncing the military regime and urging the coup makers to respect the outcome of the election, which the military claims was the result of electoral fraud.

On Wednesday, Mandalay’s ousted regional minister for natural resources and environmental conservation, U Myo Thit, was also charged with incitement at the Chan Aye Thar Zan Township Court.

The regime also filed the same charge against Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu and will hear the case on Feb. 22. U Nyi Pu was initially detained during the Feb. 1 pre-dawn coup and then placed under house arrest. But he was re-arrested on the night of Feb. 10.

News about other detained chief ministers including Daw Nang Khin Htwe Myint of Karen State and U Myint Naing of Sagaing Region both of whom were re-arrested on Feb. 8, is limited. Their families are concerned about their safety.

As of Wednesday, the military had detained 495 individuals, including the elected lawmakers and members of the NLD, election commissioners, anti-coup protesters and civil servants involved in the civil disobedience movement, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Of that total, 460 are still being detained and few have been formally charged.

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