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Responding to news that Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with breaching import-export laws for having walkie-talkies in her home, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research, Emerlynne Gil, said:

“If these charges are confirmed, they suggest the military is desperate for a pretext to embark on a witch-hunt and intimidate anyone who challenges them.

“Any such trumped-up charges against Aung San Suu Kyi – and the dozens of others still arbitrarily detained since the coup – should be dropped and they should be immediately released.”

Background

On February 3, an NLD spokesperson told journalists that Aung San Suu Kyi was charged for possession of illegally imported hand-held radios, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. She has been remanded in custody until February 15.

Myanmar’s President, Win Myint, has also reportedly been charged for alleged violation of COVID-19 election campaign guideline under Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law, which carries up to three years in prison.

Since Monday, February 1, the military has imposed a state of emergency under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and has detained scores of elected civilian officials, other senior political figures as well as political activists and human rights defenders.

In a 2018 report, Amnesty International named Senior General Min Aung Hlaing among those who should be investigated for responsibility for crimes against humanity perpetrated as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State.

A UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in 2018 has called for Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.