Myanmar police file charges against Suu Kyi after coup

Myanmar police have filed charges against overthrown leader Aung San Suu Kyi for illegally importing communications equipment and sought her detention until February 15 for investigations, according to a police document.

The Nobel laureate was overthrown and detained by Myanmar’s army on Monday, in a coup that cut short a transition to democracy in a takeover that has drawn condemnation from the United States and other Western countries.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a November 9 election in a landslide but the military claimed it was marred by fraud and justified its seizure of power on those grounds. The electoral commission has said the vote was fair.

The police on Wednesday filed a request with a court detailing the accusations against 75-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, claiming that walkie-talkie radios had been found in a search of her home in the capital, Naypyidaw.

It said the radios were imported illegally and used without permission.

The document reviewed on Wednesday requested Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention “in order to question witnesses, request evidence and seek legal counsel after questioning the defendant”.

A separate document showed that the police filed charges against overthrown President Win Myint for offences under the Disaster Management Law.

Reporting from Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon, Al Jazeera’s Ali Fowle said Myanmar’s import-export act was “notoriously vague”.

“It could be anything from a fax machine to a walkie-talkie. It’s a notorious law because it was used under the former military regime all the time to imprison political prisoners,” said Fowle.

“There was a lot of criticism for the NLD for not changing that law when they came to power because many of their members have been imprisoned under it,” she added.

There was no immediate comment from the police, the government and the court.

Thomas MacManus, director of the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London, told Al Jazeera that this law has been used in the past to target activists.

“It’s a very spurious charge … that is not based on the rule of law,” MacManus said. -Aljazeera

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