Archive for the ‘coup’ Category

Myanmar Military Used Coup To Settle Old Scores

September 13, 2021

Myanmar’s people woke up to their worst nightmare on February 1, 2021: the return of military rule after nearly a decade of relative freedom. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint’s arrest before dawn marked the end of a brief era of the elected government and set the stage for the massive demonstrations and brutal crackdowns that followed.
The country’s civilian leaders were not the only ones detained that day. Many others were also taken into custody, not because they posed an immediate threat to the coup makers, but because they had displeased them in the past.
Aung Hlaing, who orchestrated the military’s return to direct control over the state, moved swiftly to punish perceived enemies, locking them up even before they could protest. Besides activists and politicians, he also targeted celebrities, monks, and other public figures who questioned the army’s right to rule.
Before the coup, some had already been marked for revenge. As a result of their criticism of the military or its bigoted henchmen, they were among the first to be silenced when it was time to settle scores.
Others, however, were arrested without any legal basis at all. There was no evidence of wrongdoing ever presented against them, as there was no evidence of voter fraud that served as a pretext for the military takeover.
In each case, all that mattered was the attitude of the alleged offenders toward the class of men who consider themselves Myanmar’s natural rulers.
The following profiles offer a glimpse into the thinking of the generals and what they fear most-the prospect of losing power to those who refuse to fear them.

Mya Aye
The veteran activist, Mya Aye, who played an important role in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, was taken away from his home on the morning of the coup and held incommunicado for two months. His family learned that he was being held in Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison only on April 1.
After finally discovering where Mya Aye was, they became dismayed when they discovered that he had been charged with hate speech in violation of section 505c of the Penal Code, which deals with crimes against any group or individual because of their ethnic or religious background.
As well as being a prominent Muslim politician, Mya Aye worked to end tensions between the country’s various religious groups.
A potential prison sentence of two years is attached to the charges stemming from an email sent from his mobile phone in November 2014. At the time, he was working for the ethnic affairs department of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, led by former student leader Min Ko Naing.
It discussed Burman ethnonationalism and the need for cooperation among the country’s ethnic groups to achieve true federalism in the email about Myanmar’s peace process.
It was only for the sake of the country that he sent that email. His lawyer, Thet Naung, said the email sent in 2014 did not cause conflicts between ethnicities, races, or countries.
Mya Aye had been on the army’s radar since 1988, when he was a teacher coordinating the efforts of young leaders.
“We were student leaders and he was the party chairman. “We usually met at his party’s office, which was essentially a rebel hideout,” recalled former political prisoner Tun Kyi.
He only sent that email for the sake of the country. There were no ethnic or racial conflicts resulting from that email sent in 2014 – he remained politically active and often courted the military’s ire.
Mya Aye described the generals’ threat to seize power again as an act of intimidation and foretold the consequences of such an action.
A coup would be detrimental to the country. The international community would look down on us. It’s a losing battle for everyone, including the military, the people, the winning party, all of us,” he said.
Those familiar with Mya Aye’s career know he has spoken truth to power.
Tun Kyi said of the country’s dictators, “They know who their enemies are.” “They view activists and politicians who stand against them as their enemies, and they hold a grudge against them.”

Thura Aung Ko
Thura Aung Ko’s journey from high office to a prison cell was long and unlikely. Even a year before his arrest, it was clear that the former army general and government minister was a marked man.
Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun, who expressed his opinion that Wirathu was still at large because of the military-controlled Ministry of Home Affairs rather than the civilian government, called on the NLD administration to “take action” against him for defamation in February 2020.
Aung Ko, a retired brigadier general who once served as deputy minister for religious affairs under the former junta, began falling out of favor with military leaders long before this incident.
Aung Ko was one of the key holdovers from the military regime that held power until 2011 when Myanmar transitioned to quasi-civilian rule under retired general Thein Sein.
As a prominent member of the military-backed USDP, he was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, or lower house, in 2010 and appointed chair of a judicial and legislative review committee. At that time, he called for the suspension of a clause in the constitution that barred then opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president, a break with the military’s position on the matter.
Thura Aung Ko played a major role in disbanding the notorious ultranationalist group Ma Ba Tha (EPA) during her tenure as minister of religion.
Thura Aung Ko played a major role in disbanding the notorious ultranationalist group Ma Ba Tha (EPA) during her tenure as minister of religion.
Aung Ko also found himself on bad terms with the USDP in August 2015 when Thura Shwe Mann, the speaker of the Union parliament, was removed as party chair by a faction that felt he had grown too close to Suu Kyi. Both former generals, who shared the “though” title that symbolizes courage in battle, were seen as allies who threatened to weaken the army’s hold over Myanmar politics.
Aung Ko was appointed minister of religion and culture by the NLD after it won a landslide victory in the 2015 election despite losing his seat in parliament. In July 2017, he played an important role in shutting down the ultranationalist group Ma Ba Tha, led by fiery monk Wirathu.
Wirathu remained active after this, but he was eventually prosecuted for sedition. Just days before the 2020 election, he turned himself in to police after being on the run for more than a year. (Imprisoned by the NLD, he was released by the junta earlier this month.)
More than a month after his arrest on the day of the coup, Aung Ko was charged with corruption for allegedly awarding religious titles to individuals in exchange for bribes.
Currently being held in Insein Prison, the 74-year-old former general faces 15 years in prison for displeasure.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is familiar with the generals’ vindictiveness as a documentary filmmaker. He was released from prison a year ago after serving a one-year sentence for criticizing the military’s 2008 constitution and its role in politics in Facebook posts.
It was reported in April 2019 that Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was charged with incitement under section 505a of the Penal Code for making derogatory remarks. Despite having liver cancer, he was repeatedly denied bail during his incarceration, but was eventually released in February 2020 after receiving routine sentence reductions.
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi has been outspoken in his criticism of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and Ma Ba Tha, a Buddhist nationalist organization that actively promoted anti-Muslim sentiments.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), also played a significant role in his decision. This was demonstrated by him auctioning off a poem written by Suu Kyi for 240m kyat (nearly $145,000) and donating the proceeds to her party.
Because of the ruling junta that ruled the country until 2011, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was unable to screen any of his early work in Myanmar.
Inle Lake in Shan State and his first film, Human Zoo, which examines the exploitation of the Padaung people known for their “long necks,” have both been well-received overseas, but weren’t available for public viewing due to censorship in Thailand.
In the early days of Myanmar’s partial opening a decade ago, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi organized events to bring his own work and that of others to Myanmar audiences. Zarganar, a comedian and fellow director who was also known as an outspoken opponent of military rule, collaborated with him for the first, the Art of Freedom Film Festival.
The Human Dignity Institute, which produces documentaries and short films about human rights, was founded shortly after the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival.
The ideals he has espoused as an artist and the passion he has instilled in young filmmakers cannot be contained – Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi’s colleague
His colleague, who asked to remain anonymous, said that many young filmmakers owe their start to Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi. Through them and his own films, he continues to influence public discourse in Myanmar even as a prisoner of the junta.
Despite the fascist regime’s success [in detaining] Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, his creative ideals and the fascination he has generated in the minds of younger filmmakers cannot be contained and will not be silenced, said the colleague.
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, 59, and his former collaborator Zarganar, 60, are currently being held in Insein Prison, along with many others considered a threat to the regime.

Htin Lin Oo
Author and former NLD information officer Htin Lin Oo recorded a nine-minute live broadcast on social media to denounce the military’s actions as he awaited his arrest on February 1. He said he would always oppose the dictatorship, no matter what.
“I do not oppose the army. I oppose the dictators who staged the coup. In his final public statement before being taken away, he said, “We civilians must rise up and revolt against the dictatorship.”
Htin Lin Oo accused the generals of destroying democracy in its infancy. He said every time they staged a coup, they pushed the country decades behind the rest of the world, as they did in 1962 and 1988.
Myanmar’s newly appointed leaders were not pleased with these remarks. His online comments were used to charge him with incitement and spreading false news on social media after he was arrested without charges.
Htin Lin Oo, like many others arrested that day, had a history of displeasure with the military. During a speech in Magway Region’s Chaung Oo Township in October 2014, he accused the army of using religion to create conflict and maintain control.
A 10-minute excerpt from his two-hour speech was posted widely online and portrayed as an attack on Buddhism, the majority religion of Myanmar. His remarks proved so controversial that even his own party distanced itself from them.
At the time, the military-backed USDP was in power and the Patriotic Association of Myanmar (the Buddhist nationalist group better known by its Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha) was at the height of its influence. It came as no surprise, then, when Htin Lin Oo was sentenced to two years with hard labor for allegedly violating sections 295a and 298 of the Penal Code, which prohibits “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings” and speaking “with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings”.
We’re not afraid of anything because we haven’t done anything wrong – Htin Lin Oo’s wife
After his release, Htin Lin Oo resumed his efforts to push the military out of politics, organizing public discussions on amending the military-drafted constitution and founding a weekly journal, D Lann, that raised related issues.
His wife, Saw Sandar, said that the regime arrested Htin Lin Oo because it fears anyone who can lead the public.
“It’s not fair, but we have the courage to face this. We’re not afraid of anything because we haven’t done anything wrong,” she said, adding that her only real worry is that her husband will fall victim to Covid-19 while behind bars.
“What’s important is to stay healthy, especially when the pandemic is getting worse inside the prisons. That’s the only thing I’m worried about,” she told Myanmar Now.

Min Thway Thit
If he hadn’t been arrested on the day of the coup, Min Thway Thit would likely have been at the forefront of the anti-dictatorship movement. The 38-year-old activist and former political prisoner has long played a leading role in resisting military oppression.
He first came to prominence in 2014 during student protests against a new national education law introduced by the quasi-civilian administration of then President Thein Sein. During a violent crackdown on protests in Letpadan, Bago Region, in March 2015, he was one of more than 100 people arrested and imprisoned. The charges against him were eventually dropped, however, when the NLD assumed power a year later.
Former student leader Min Thway Thit was arrested before he could join nationwide protests against the February 1 coup (Yadanar Su Po Khaing/ Facebook)
Former student leader Min Thway Thit was arrested before he could join nationwide protests against the February 1 coup (Yadanar Su Po Khaing/ Facebook)
More recently, the former associate secretary of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) and founder of the Oway Library and Education Charity (Thanlyin) led a volunteer group established in Yangon’s Thanlyin Township to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Min Thway Thit was detained for a full month before the regime released any information about him to his family. His wife, Yadanar Su Po Khaing, told VOA’s Burmese-language service in an interview that she wasn’t able to send him any medicine or other necessities until early March when she first learned that he was being held in Insein Prison.
He now faces charges of violating vehicle-licensing regulations under Section 95 of the Vehicle Safety and Vehicle Management Act, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. However, according to his wife, he has refused to take part in the proceedings against him because he has no confidence in the impartiality of the junta’s judiciary.
The most common crime committed by those arrested on February 1 was supporting the NLD, the party that won two successive landslide victories against the military’s proxy party, the USDP. Anyone tied to the NLD, either as a leading member or as an outspoken supporter, was fair game for a regime determined to silence the military’s most potent rival for power.
Surprisingly, perhaps, only a handful of NLD-appointed ministers have come under sustained pressure. Apart from State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, the only senior figures from the Union government still in custody are Soe Win, the ousted minister of planning and finance, his vice minister Set Aung, and his predecessor Kyaw Win.
Soe Win, the ousted government’s planning and finance minister, is one of the few Union-level politicians still behind bars (Global New Light of Myanmar)
Soe Win, the ousted government’s planning and finance minister, is one of the few Union-level politicians still behind bars (Global New Light of Myanmar)
At the regional and municipal levels of government, however, a number of other senior officials have also been targeted by the junta. In early July, Mandalay’s chief minister, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, and the region’s minister for electricity, energy, and construction, Zarni Aung, were charged with corruption, more than five months after their arrest.
Similar charges, made in connection with alleged illegal deals involving Aung San Suu Kyi, have also been laid against Naypyitaw’s former mayor, Dr. Myo Aung, and deputy mayor, Ye Min Oo, as well as Min Thu, a member of the city’s development committee.
Of the monks who were arrested on February 1, Ven. Pyinya Thiha, better known as Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw, was perhaps the most outspoken backer of the NLD. In 2011, long before the party came to power, he was banned from giving public sermons after he commemorated the 20th anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
The abbot of Mandalay’s Myawaddy Mingyi monastery, Ven. Ariyawuntha Biwunsa (also known as Myawaddy Sayadaw), had also earned the military’s ire in the past. In late 2019, he was sued for defamation after he accused the armed forces of supporting ultranationalist monks. He was out on bail when he was arrested on the day of the coup.
In an interview with Myanmar Now following his release from Mandalay’s Obo Prison last month, he dismissed the junta’s claims that the NLD was bad for Myanmar’s Buddhist monks and repeated his charge that the military was trying to “exploit the people in the name of religion.”
Ven. Thawbita, one of the leaders of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, was taken away from his monastery in Patheingyi, east of Mandalay, in handcuffs on the morning of February 1. Two days later, he was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty under Section 66d of Myanmar’s draconian Telecommunications Law for an online comment he wrote more than two years earlier facetiously comparing Min Aung Hlaing to a cow.
As if to prove their utter humourlessness, the generals also went after a pair of prominent satirists on the day they seized power. One was Maung Thar Cho, who wrote satirical articles for the 7Day daily newspaper under the pseudonym of Jack (Kunchan Kone). These pieces proved immensely popular and earned him a following among NLD supporters, who invited him to literary talks around the country.
They were kidnapped and now they are political hostages. The junta chief will use them to ease international pressure
The other was Saw Phoe Khwar, an ethnic Kayin reggae musician who performed at NLD campaign events during last year’s election. Famous for his peace concerts, he is also well-known for his use of wit to skewer the military.
“The Son of Daw Sein Aye,” one of his most popular songs, plays on the name of the Defence Services Academy (DSA), the elite institution that produced most of Myanmar’s top military leaders. Ostensibly about an unruly man who makes trouble for his neighbors, it clearly refers to the DSA’s proudest alumni. Since the coup, it has become a popular protest song.
Since his arrest on February 1, Saw Phoe Khwar’s satirical takes on military behavior have become popular protest songs (Saw Phoe Khwar/ Facebook)
Since his arrest on February 1, Saw Phoe Khwar’s satirical takes on military behavior have become popular protest songs (Saw Phoe Khwar/ Facebook)
Whatever reasons were given for their arrest, most of those detained on February 1 is likely to remain in the junta’s custody until it becomes politically expedient to release them.
Locked up for offending the generals, they are now just pawns in their game, according to former political prisoner Tun Kyi.
“They were kidnapped and now they are political hostages. The junta chief will use them to ease international pressure. They may be released, but they won’t be free, because they could be arrested again at any time. That’s just how it was done under previous regimes, too,” he explained.

The Myanmar Military Is Releasing More Prisoners To Stop Spread of COVID

July 22, 2021

The junta announced on Wednesday that prisoners who were incarcerated before February 1, 2021, will be released soon to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
According to the announcement, all criminal cases against those facing trial for 11 different charges, including gambling, drug-related offenses, and prostitution, will be dropped.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the regime cited a backlog of court hearings as the reason for the move, which coincides with growing concerns about the spread of the disease in the country’s overcrowded prisons.
Under the order, it was unclear how many prisoners would be released. According to prison authorities, no prisoners had been released as of late Wednesday.
If [the junta] dismisses the charges, we can release them. We can release them right away if they do,” said one prison officer contacted by the press.
According to him, the courts were likely still reviewing prisoner lists to determine who was eligible for release.
“We can only release them when we receive the release order. Since the detainees [who will be released] are not permanent inmates, we do not have an exact number,” said the officer.
The order, however, does not apply to opponents of the regime who have been detained since the military seized power on February 1, 2021.
“If they’re worried about prisoners catching Covid-19, shouldn’t everyone be released?” said Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer who is part of the defense team for Myanmar’s deposed civilian government.
Concern was also expressed that the measure might result in an increase in arrests of those opposed to the junta’s rule.
This leads me to believe that they are expanding the prisons to accommodate more political activists who oppose them, said an official with the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) who asked to remain anonymous.
In the month of April, the regime released a similar number to mark the start of the Buddhist New Year. Since taking power, the regime has released many prisoners. On February 12, it announced a mass amnesty of more than 23,000 prisoners.
Several prisoners were released in the middle of the night in residential areas during the February release, which coincided with protests against the military takeover. The release was seen as an attempt to create chaos.
According to a recent statement by the regime, only six inmates of Insein Prison, the country’s largest detention facility, have contracted Covid-19 since the outbreak began in July, while 375 cases have been discovered in the country’s prison system.
He died at Yangon General Hospital on Tuesday morning after being transferred from Insein prison to a hospital for infected inmates. Nyan Win was a member of the deposed ruling party, the National League for Democracy.
Over 5,300 of those detained for anti-coup activities are still being held in Myanmar’s prisons, according to AAPP.

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Myanmar Opposition Leader Dies In Prison From COVID-19

July 21, 2021

A central executive committee (CEC) member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s long-time personal lawyer, U Nyan Win died of COVID-19 recently after being detained by the Myanmar military regime.
As a result of the junta’s Feb. 1 coup, the 79-year-old was arrested and held in Insein Prison, where he contracted Coronavirus. On July 11, he was transferred to Yangon General Hospital’s intensive care unit.
He is the first political prisoner to die of COVID-19, as Myanmar struggles with an outbreak of infections and deaths from a devastating third wave of the Coronavirus.
Nyan Win joined the NLD soon after it was founded following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.
In the 1990 election, which the previous military regime refused to recognize, he was elected to represent Paung Township in Mon State. While under house arrest, he was also the attorney for detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
A member of the NLD’s Central Research Committee described Ko Kyaw Wunna as a ‘parent’ to him. His life this time was sacrificed since he had been arrested and released several times without being imprisoned.
For nine years, Ko Kyaw Wunna worked closely with U Nyan Win. He described him as “a legal expert with a good heart, quiet yet disciplined, friendly with the media, and committed to the NLD party since its formation”.
His wife and daughter survive him. She has been suffering from a chronic illness
Her family and friends are also worried about her health because she has had Alzheimer’s disease for nearly a decade.
U Nyan Win, who served as a spokesperson for the NLD, also led the party’s electoral campaigns in the 2012 by-election and the 2015 and 2020 general elections. He was always outspoken about the undemocratic, military-crafted 2008 Constitution.
As tensions between the NLD and military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing intensified after the 2020 election, U Nyan Win predicted that the military would stage a coup.
According to the legal expert, the coup could occur, but the military cannot seize power under the 2008 Constitution, and if they did so, they would face a backlash one day. Due to the COVID-19 situation, Ko Kyaw Wunna did not expect that the coup would last.
A few hours after the coup and the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD’s senior leadership, including the entire CEC, was detained by the junta on Feb. 1, 2021. U Nyan Win’s whereabouts were unknown until March 6, when his family learned that he had been moved to Insein Prison.
In response, he was charged with sedition under Article 505(b) of the Penal Code for NLD statements made on Feb. 7 and Feb. 13, 2021.
In her meeting with U Nyan Win earlier this month, Daw San Mar Lar Nyunt, U Nyan Win’s lawyer and a family friend, said he was healthy and said she had worked with him for 32 years.
U Nyan Win had been diagnosed with cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart often associated with heart disease. Additionally, he had gout and stomach problems.
Since Feb. 1, more than 2,100 people have died from COVID-19, according to the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports. The actual death toll is believed to be much higher due to the underreporting of Coronavirus deaths.
Since July 8, 13,000 prisoners at the Insein Prison have been locked down to prevent the spread of Coronavirus; their trials have been suspended. Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the coup in Myanmar, said recently that 315 COVID-19 victims are being held in prisons, and 190 are still receiving treatment, while five have died. The number of political prisoners infected, however, was not disclosed. The Coronavirus has infected other political prisoners as well, So far, 919 civilians had been killed and 6,828 arrested during anti-regime protests. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, over 5,000 people are still detained.

UN: Myanmar Children Have Greatly Suffered Since The Coup in February

July 20, 2021

UN”Dozens of children have been killed and hundreds arbitrarily detained in Myanmar since a coup more than five months ago, UN rights experts said, as the political turmoil in the country continues amid a health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN child rights committee reported on Friday that it had received “credible information” that 75 children had been killed and approximately 1,000 arrested in Myanmar since February 1, 2021.
“Children in Myanmar are under siege and facing the catastrophic loss of life because of the military coup,” committee chair Mikiko Otani said in a statement.
Myanmar’s residents have taken part in mass protests but have been met with a brutal military response since the coup which deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Children are exposed to indiscriminate violence, random shootings, and arbitrary arrests every day,” Otani said.
“They have guns pointed at them and see the same happen to their parents and siblings.”
The committee is made up of 18 independent experts who are tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Myanmar signed onto in 1991.
The experts said they “strongly condemned the killing of children by the junta and police”, pointing out that “some victims were killed in their own homes”
They included a six-year-old girl in the city of Mandalay, shot in the stomach by police, the statement said.
The experts also slammed the widespread arbitrary detention of children in police stations, prisons, and military detention centers.
They pointed to the military authorities’ reported practice of taking children hostage when they are unable to arrest their parents, including a five-year-old girl in the Mandalay region whose father helped organize anti-military protests.
On Friday, Myanmar Now news website also reported that two minors, aged 12 and 15 were among seven villagers from Mandalay region’s Sintgaing township, who were detained and charged with possessing explosives.
The experts also voiced deep concern about the considerable disruptions in essential medical care and school education across the country.
Access to safe drinking water and food for children in rural areas had also been disrupted, they said.
They pointed out that the UN rights office had received credible reports that security forces were occupying hospitals, schools, and religious institutions in the country, which were subsequently damaged in military actions.
They highlighted numbers from the UN children’s agency UNICEF indicating that one million children across Myanmar were missing out on key vaccines, while more than 40,000 children were no longer receiving the treatment they need for severe acute malnutrition.
“If this crisis continues, an entire generation of children is at risk of suffering profound physical, psychological, emotional, educational and economic consequences, depriving them of a healthy and productive future,” Otani warned.
As of Friday, the human rights monitor The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) in Myanmar reported that since the coup in February, at least 912 people have been killed, 6,770 have been arrested and 5,277 currently detained or sentenced while 1,963 are wanted by security forces.

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Myanmar People Now Have To Worry About Dying from COVID-19 or The Myanmar Military

June 30, 2021

Recently, there were a record number of COVID-19 cases with 1,225 positive tests from 6,586 conducted tests and 12 deaths, the highest number since May/

More than 1,200 cases have been reported since June 12,

According to the junta-controlled health ministry, Myanmar had 154,385 COVID-19 cases with 3,309 deaths. The ministry has issued stay-at-home orders in 11 townships in Sagaing and Bago regions as well as in Chin and Shan states.

As health care staff joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military regime, COVID-19 testing dropped. Since Feb. 8, the regime has called on the health staff to return to work.

In January, approximately 16,000 to 18,000 swab tests were conducted a day by the ousted civilian government of the National League for Democracy.

The number of tests administered per day decreased to a bit over 1,500 between February and early June.

Since June 12, 2021, the number of daily swab tests has risen again between 3,000 and 7,000.

Most cases have been reported in border towns with India, China, and Bangladesh. The junta has yet to introduce effective measures to curb the spread of the virus in Myanmar’s borders.

Since June 1, the health ministry has distributed over 12 million surgical masks and conducted health awareness activities.

Three mutant coronavirus strains have been detected in Myanmar, including the Delta strain from India.

The junta is expanding quarantine centers, opening dedicated hospital wards and promoting vaccines from China and India.

Myanmar’s COVID-19 vaccine program has also struggled under the junta, as millions of civilians refuse the jab, and thousands of health workers have gone on strike and joined the CDM.

On January 27, the NLD began a nationwide vaccination program for COVID-19 using vaccines donated by AstraZeneca. Health care staff and volunteers received shots first.

Since the military took over on Feb. 1, almost all health workers have refused to receive the second vaccination in protest.

In May, the regime claimed that more than 1.7 million citizens had received two vaccinations.

Many people have refused to get inoculated because they distrust the quality control of the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the absence of the needed vaccines, the lawyers representing State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her Naypyitaw trials have to test for the HIV virus every time they travel. They need a certificate proofing that their tests are negative for this virus.

Myanmar Military Involved In Shootout With Opposition Troops

June 23, 2021

During the shootout, eight PDF fighters were killed and eight were arrested, while some junta troops were seriously injured, according to military-run Myawady TV.
The commander of the Mandalay PDF’s urban guerrilla warfare unit, who goes by the pseudonym Bo Tun Tauk Naing, told The Irrawaddy that only two resistance fighters were killed.
Students and civil servants on strike are among the six arrested.
“We also seized some weapons,” he said.
Early this morning, Junta troops reportedly raided a boarding school where PDF fighters were based in Hton Tone ward.
“They found us. They came to our base at the corner of 111st and 112nd streets on 54th Street and we fired at them as they approached,” Bo Tun Tauk Naing said.
As their colleagues from other parts of town rushed to rescue them, the PDF fighters attempted to withdraw from the base.
According to the PDF, grenades were used by Junta forces. The Junta also used snipers and armored vehicles in the clash.
“Junta troops arrived at 7 a.m. At 111th and 54th streets, the gunmen opened fire. The shooting was not heavy. At 8 a.m., there was an exchange of fire. 8.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. Until now, junta troops have not raided houses. While the clash was still going on in the morning, a resident of Hton Tone Ward said, “They are detaining every man they see.”.
Machine guns and grenades were heard, he said.
Recently, the US and Canadian embassies in Yangon called for an end to the violence and the protection of civilians, saying they were disturbed and concerned by the fighting in Mandalay.
The Mandalay PDF was formed by local resistance fighters who underwent military training provided by ethnic armed groups. Mandalay PDF is part of the National Unity Government.

Five People Were Arrested in Myanmar For Assassination

June 21, 2021

Five people were arrested in Yangon’s Botahtaung Township recently near the site of the assassination of former Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) MP Nay Myo Aung.

Local residents say all five live near Botahtaung Pagoda, where Nay Myo Aung was killed by two men on motorcycles on June 10, 2021.

Win Htay and Hla Htay are said to be employees of the Myanma Port Authority’s civil engineering department. Three others were identified as Soe Thaung, Htein Lin, and Kyaw San Win.

The men’s relatives say they have not heard from them since they were taken into custody.

According to a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) living in Botataung Township, none of the five detainees are affiliated with the NLD.

In regard to the death of Nay Myo Aung, some USDP members were pointing fingers at the assailants, he said.

Nay Myo Aung was elected to the Yangon Region parliament in 2010 as the representative for Seikkan Township’s constituency 2, but he lost his seat five years later when the NLD took power in Myanmar.

He ran again in 2018 and defeated his NLD rival by around 150 votes. Ultimately, the result was overturned because of alleged electoral fraud, allowing the NLD candidate, who received the second-most votes, to claim the seat.

USDP spokesperson Thein Tun Oo said after his murder that the party was responding according to the law.

USDP members are accused of serving as informants for the regime that seized power on February 1. In the wake of murderous crackdowns on protesters, several party members have been targeted by guerilla groups.

A fatal drive-by shooting in May 2021 resulted in the death of the USDP township chair in Bilin, Mon State, who was walking with his wife to their rambutan plantation when he was shot in the head by two gunmen.

A USDP member and former local administrator in Mohnyin, Kachin State, was assassinated before dawn on June 1, 2021.

UN Finally Reacts To Myanmar Coup And Tries To Pass An Arms Embargo

June 20, 2021

In response to this year’s violent military coup, the UN has called for the suspension of arms sales to Myanmar.

The General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the military junta that overthrew the elected government in February 2021.

Also, the UN called for the release of political prisoners, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, and an end to violence against peaceful protesters.

Even though the resolution is not legally binding, it has political significance.

As UN special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener told the General Assembly, “the risk of a large-scale civil war is real.” “Time is of the essence. The opportunity to reverse the military takeover is dwindling.”

Belarus was the only country to vote against it, with 119 countries supporting it.

Another 36 countries abstained, including Russia and China – Myanmar’s two largest arms suppliers.

Abstainers argued the crisis was an internal matter for Myanmar, while others argued the resolution did not address a crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim population four years ago that forced almost a million people to flee their homes.

EU ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, said the resolution “delegitimizes the military junta, condemns its abuse and violence against its own people, and demonstrates its isolation from the world.

Myanmar’s military has brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protesters, activists, and journalists since the coup.

According to the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), security forces have killed more than 860 people and detained nearly 5,000 to date.

In a statement, Human Rights Watch urged the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution calling for an arms embargo, stating that “while not legally binding on states, such a resolution would have a significant political impact.”

Governments need to recognize that any arms sold to Myanmar’s military will likely be used to commit abuses against the population. “Arms embargoes can help prevent such crimes.

Myanmar in profile
Burma, also known as Myanmar, became independent from Britain in 1948. It’s been under military rule for most of its modern history. In 2009, however, the restrictions began to ease, and in 2015, a new government was installed led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Myanmar army responded to attacks by Rohingya militants in 2017 with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN called an “ethnic cleansing textbook example.”
Suu Kyi, 75, has been under house arrest since the coup and hasn’t been seen or heard from much outside of short court appearances.

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American Reporter Appears In Myanmar Court

June 19, 2021

Fenster, a US journalist who was detained in Myanmar over three weeks ago, appeared in court in Yangon, according to Frontier Myanmar, the news publication for which he is managing editor.
The military detained the 37-year-old on May 24 at Yangon International Airport before he could board a flight to Kuala Lumpur. He was on his way to see his family in Detroit.
In the 25 days since his detention, he had not been heard from.
The Frontier Myanmar reports that Fenster, who appeared at a special court in Yangon’s Insein prison recently, was charged under section 505a of Myanmar’s penal code, which carries a possible three-year sentence.
It is unlawful to publish or circulate statements that “cause fear,” spread “false news,” or incite government employees. Since the military seized power in March, dozens of journalists have been charged under this section.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a former civil leader of Myanmar, was ousted from power during the coup, which was followed by a widespread crackdown on dissent.
Junta troops burn Myanmar village to the ground after fighting, residents say
Junta troops burn Myanmar village to the ground after fighting, residents say
Danny was remanded to Insein Prison for two weeks and will appear in court again on July 1, 2021, Frontier Myanmar said. “No reason was given for the filing of the charge against him,” Frontier Myanmar said.
In spite of this, we have no evidence that Danny has committed any offense worthy of a 505a charge. We demand Danny’s release without condition.
Bryan Fenster’s reaction to the news was a mixture of relief and anger.
“Finally, some movement, but our frustration is mounting. A hearing without official communication from the US Embassy or our family,” Bryan wrote in the “Bring Danny Home” Facebook group.
“Continued detention without access to legal counsel or official charges against Danny; denial of US Consulate access to both Danny and his hearing, despite repeated requests in the last 25 days.”
Clearly, this is a flagrant disregard for international law and a flagrant violation of human rights. Danny must be released immediately.”
Recently, a US State Department spokesperson told CNN that the US Embassy in Myanmar had been unable to access Fenster.
A spokesperson for the regime said consular officers have requested to see Daniel, but have not yet been granted access.
Our call is to the Burmese regime to grant consular access without delay, as required by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and to ensure that Daniel is treated properly while he remains in detention.”
In order to press American politicians to assist in bringing their son back home, the Fenster family has created a petition on MoveOn.
Danny Fenster’s mother, Rose Fenster, called for his release on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” last month.
It’s a nightmare; it’s a feeling of being powerless. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
“I just want my son back home, no matter what it takes. “Release him and send him home to his family.”
Nathan Maung, a US citizen detained since March 9, was released earlier this week by Myanmar authorities. The co-founder and editor-in-chief of Myanmar’s online news site Kamayut Media, Muang is also a journalist.
Insein Prison held him for more than two months. CNN reported that he and Hanthar Nyein were tortured in an interrogation center after they were arrested.

Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s Trial Started As Expected On June 14, 2021

June 15, 2021

More than four months after the military seized power, deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi began her trial on June 14, 2021. 
It has brought an eclectic mix of charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, who was just returned to office after winning landslides in elections last November 2021, including that she accepted gold payments illegally and violated a colonial-era secrecy law.
One witness testified that the 75-year-old woman broke coronavirus restrictions while campaigning during the polls, while another testified on separate charges accusing her of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies, the lawyer for the woman said.
Last week, Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with additional corruption for allegedly accepting $600,000 in cash and approximately 11kg (24.2 pounds) of gold.
Journalists were barred from attending court proceedings, and there was heavy police presence outside, according to an AFP reporter.
The trial is expected to be over by July 26, 2021, according to Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, who have struggled to gain access to their clients.
A separate trial is scheduled to begin June 15, 2021,  over the sedition charges she faces alongside overthrown president Win Myint and another senior member of the NLD.
Aung San Suu Kyi faces more than a decade in jail if convicted of all charges.
“This is nothing more than a political show trial,” said Debbie Stothard, Coordinator of the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma.
“Min Aung Hlaing [military chief] is determined to imprison Aung San Suu Kyi for the rest of her life. He probably would charge her under every law available to him.”
Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from running for office because of political motives and bogus allegations.
The trial is part of an overall strategy to undermine Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy party as a force capable of challenging the military regime in the future, said deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.
Myanmar has been rocked by protests almost daily since the generals’ February 1, 2021 putsch. More than 850 civilians have been killed in a brutal military crackdown following a mass uprising, according to a local monitoring group.