Myanmar's Shadow Govt ‘Deeply Concerned’ for Safety of Detained NLD Leaders

By The Irrawaddy 1 June 2021

The National Unity Government (NUG) has expressed serious concerns about the safety of Myanmar’s ousted leaders, who are being held in unknown locations by the junta.

“The NUG is deeply concerned for the safety of the state leaders,” said the NUG in a statement released on Monday. The statement condemned the junta’s ill treatment of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other detained leaders of the former National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

In her first face-to-face meeting with her legal team last week, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told her lawyers that she doesn’t know where she is being detained and that she was isolated from the outside world.

Until recently, she was being held at her residence on Mya Nan Bontha Street, Zabuthiri Township in Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s capital. However, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told her lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw that she was moved to another unknown location on May 23.

The 75-year-old pro-democracy leader is also subject to an information blackout with no access to newspapers, TV, radio, internet or phone. She has been provided with a bare minimum of information by the regime since her arrest on Feb. 1, the day of the junta’s coup.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest, and that of President U Win Myint on the same day, came a few hours before the convening of what was to be the first session of a new Parliament following the NLD’s landslide victory in the November 2020 general election.

President U Win Myint also told his legal team that he has been completely isolated from the outside world since Feb. 1. The two leaders, both former political prisoners of previous military regimes, face various charges and potentially long prison sentences.

Following the meetings with their legal teams, the two democratically-elected leaders made their first appearance in court in Naypyitaw. Previous hearings were all held via video link.

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and Naypyitaw Council Chairman Dr. Myo Aung appear in court in Naypyitaw on May 24. / Commander in Chief of Defense Services Myanmar

The unprecedented hearing of the cases of the most high-profile prisoners in Myanmar’s recent history took place in a special court inside a disused building in the Naypyitaw Council compound.

Regime-controlled television aired the first pictures of the leaders to emerge since they were overthrown in the coup, showing them sitting in the dock of the court with police officers standing behind them. Also on trial with them is detained Naypyitaw Council Chairman Dr. Myo Aung.

The NUG denounced the military regime’s release of the images as propaganda and as insulting the human dignity of the ousted leaders. The NUG noted also that, like the NLD leaders, several civilians were also being unlawfully detained at unknown places around the country.

“We will try our utmost to make sure to serve justice and ensure accountability for every single unjust case brought by the military since the coup and also those brought against ethnic minorities for years before,” said the NUG in their statement.

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