Speed Reads

myanmar coup

Myanmar junta to detain toppled leader Suu Kyi for 14 days on dubious illegal walkie-talkie charges

Police in Myanmar on Wednesday charged deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi with illegally importing walkie-talkie radios, according to police documents and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The unregistered walkie-talkies, evidently used by Suu Kyi's bodyguards, violate Myanmar's import-export law, police said. She faces up to two years in prison if convicted, The Associated Press reports, though the police said only that she will be detained until Feb. 15 while they investigate.

Police also charged ousted President Win Myint with violating natural disaster management law. Myint, Suu Kyi, and at least dozens of other NLD leaders were rounded up in predawn raids Monday as Myanmar's military seized control in a carefully orchestrated coup. Army chief Min Aung Hlaing, who leads the new military government, said in his junta's first meeting Tuesday that a newly named electoral commission will investigate the military's claims of voter fraud in November's election, which the the NLD won in a landslide.

President Biden officially declared Myanmar's military takeover a coup on Tuesday, shutting off U.S. aid to the country. And the Group of Seven nations — the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, and Italy — condemned the coup Wednesday. "We call upon the military to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically elected government, to release all those unjustly detained, and to respect human rights and the rule of law," the G7 said in a statement. "We stand with the people of Myanmar who want to see a democratic future."

The military justified the coup by pointing to its unsubstantiated voter fraud claims, but analysts say it was probably prompted more by the army trying to reassert the control it had for the 50 years before allowing free elections in 2010 — and by the personal amnion of Min Aung Hlaing, CNN reports. "Facing mandatory retirement in a few months, with no route to a civilian leadership role, and amid global calls for him to face criminal charges in The Hague, he was cornered," human rights lawyer Jared Genser argued in a CNN op-ed.