Junta imprisons NLD members of parliament

23 May 2023
Junta imprisons NLD members of parliament
Demonstrators march during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, 01 April 2021. Photo: EPA

The Myanmar junta has arrested nearly 130 National League for Democracy (NLD) members of parliament (MPs), killed 16 NLD members and revoked the citizenship of a further four members.

The figures were in a report issued by the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) on 20 May.

Amongst the NLD members arrested by the Myanmar junta are State Counsellor Daw Aung San Kyi and President U Win Myint.

Of the arrested NLD MPs, 41 were from the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (union-level parliament) and 87 were from regional or state parliaments. Of those, currently 29 union-level and 59 regional or state MPs are still in prison.

An NLD MP from Bago Regional Parliament died in prison because he was refused medical treatment. Another NLD MP from the Mon Sate parliament was arrested and killed in custody and his body was then left by the side of a road.

Five union-level NLD MPs and nine regional or state-level NLD MPs, who fled their homes because they feared being arrested, died whilst they were on the run due to not being able to receive medical treatment.

As well as arresting, imprisoning and killing NLD members, the junta has also revoked the citizenships of four union-level NLD MPs who are also members of the CRPH, they are: U Ye Mon (alias U Tin Thit), U Lwin Ko Latt, and Daw Zin Mar Aung who are now the ministers of NUG, and Daw Phyu Phyu Thin, the member of CRPH.

The junta has also detained NLD MP’s family members as hostages to force them to give themselves up. The junta has also sealed and seized or destroyed NLD members’ houses.

Once imprisoned NLD members lose their fundamental human rights, such as having legal representation or visitors. Often their cases do not even follow due legal process. NLD members released from prison recount stories of brutal torture and no access to medical treatment for their injuries.

Currently, Aung San Suu Kyi, the 77-year-old State Counsellor, is being held in solitary confinement in a prison in Naypyitaw. She is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence for various politically motivated charges, including corruption, illegally possessing walkie-talkies and flouting COVID-19 restrictions.

The international community has protested Aung San Suu Kyi’s imprisonment and called for her release, saying that legal procedures were not followed in her prosecutions.

The president, the NLD’s U Win Myint, was arrested after the coup and moved to Taungoo Prison in Bago Region in January of 2023. He is serving a 12-year prison sentence, including for five charges of corruption relating to the rental and the purchase of a helicopter for a disaster relief program whilst he was in government.

Political prisoners in Myanmar are regularly subjected to hard labour, beatings and cruel treatment. They are shackled whilst in prison and have no access to clean water.

Last year, the families of political prisoners called for international organisations such as the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) to inspect prison conditions, but they were unable to carry out any inspections as the junta did not grant them access to prisons.