Kachin State Govt Ministers of NLD Government Sent to Myitkyina Prison

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Kachin State’s chief minister, the state parliament speaker and four other members of the NLD government were sent to Myitkyina Prison by the ruling military junta in early March, representatives of the National League for Democracy (NLD) told NMG.

Those imprisoned include chief minister Dr. Khet Awng; parliamentary speaker Tun Tin; municipal minister Naw Li; labor, immigration and population minister Zaw Win; social welfare minister Ne Win; and Shwegu Township parliamentarian Zarni Min.

“They didn’t officially inform us… It has already been two to three days,” an NLD officer told NMG on the condition of anonymity. “They sent all of them to Myitkyina Prison. They didn’t inform their respective families. We got this information from Myitkyina Prison.”

The NLD officer said that they, along with elected parliamentarians and officials from the NLD have been charged with violating Article 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law. The statute has been used against people who the military has accused of negligence or defiance of COVID-19 prevention measures. If convicted, the charges carry sentences of up to three years in prison.

“They were placed under house arrest. Then they were sent to prison. I heard they were charged with Article 25. I think the court hearing will start for this case and they will be remanded [without bail],” the NLD officer said.

“[The military] arrested the President and State Counsellor, so everybody can be arrested. Nobody is safe,” an anti-junta protester in Myitkyina told NMG, referring to Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi. “Now the laws are in their hands. They have control of all of the laws.”

Demonstrations against Burma’s February 1 military coup have swept the nation, and have been met with brutal crackdowns by security forces, including in Myitkyina.

“This is not concerned with one person. This concerns the whole nation. These kinds of violent acts will stop only after the military dictatorship is gone. So we have to continue to fight for justice,” the protester said.

According to NLD party’s officials, some NLD members are arrested. But they do not know where authorities have detained the NLD members.