NLD Prepares to Sue Myanmar’s Military for Illegal Arrests

By The Irrawaddy 12 February 2021

Yangon — The committee representing elected members of the Yangon regional parliament from the National League for Democracy (NLD) is preparing to prosecute the military’s State Administrative Council for the unlawful detention of Yangon’s ministers and parliamentary speakers under Article 344 of the Penal Code.

“Our target is the military council. [The Yangon ministers] were arrested on its order. We won’t prosecute the Tatmadaw [military] as a whole. We believe not all Tatmadaw personnel are on the same side so we’ll only prosecute the military council,” said the NLD’s Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe of the Committee Representing Yangon Parliament.

The committee is looking to initiate legal proceedings against the coup leaders in both domestic and international courts, said Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, who was elected Karen ethnic affairs minister in the November election in Yangon. She did not say in which courts the complaint had been filed.

“No one can be detained for more than 24 hours without a solid reason. They didn’t commit any offenses. They were just performing their government duties. It is totally illegal detention,” she said.

The military has detained Yangon region chief minister U Phyo Min Thein and ministers U Ye Min Oo, Daw Nilar Kyaw, U Naing Ngan Lin, Daw Moe Moe Su Kyi and Naw Pan Thinzar Myo and Yangon speaker U Tin Maung Tun and his deputy U Lin Naing Myint since the Feb. 1 coup.

No one has heard from them for 11 days and family members have not been given reasons for the arrests.

Article 344 of the Penal Code states that anyone responsible for someone’s unjustifiable detention beyond 10 days may face up to three years in prison.

Myanmar’s military also seized President U Win Myint, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, government ministers and parliamentary speakers in Naypyitaw on Feb. 1.

Although the judiciary is controlled by the State Administrative Council, headed by coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, the 2008 Constitution and Penal Code can still be applied, said lawyer U Kyee Myint.

“The laws remain in force. Legal action can be taken against organizations. Whether the prosecution will be successful is another matter but, while the laws remain in force, we have the right to prosecute,” said U Kyee Myint.

Committee Representing the National Parliament has also said Min Aung Hlaing violated Chapter 6 of the Penal Code for offenses against the state and is also preparing to prosecute the State Administrative Council.

The law refers to using force of arms to overthrow the government.

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