Myanmar Spring Chronicle – June 23 Scenes

MoeMaKa   June 24 2022

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was transferred to prison. Are situations changing with time?

In the times of the junta regime led by Than Shwe and Khin Nyunt, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was detained and released frequently for two decades. During that time, there was the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts” enacted in the Ma Hsa La Socialist Party Period and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was house arrested 3 times under section- 10/B of the law.

A year after the Ma Hsa La Party (Burma Socialist Programme Party) approved the 1974 Constitution, this law was enacted in 1975. The purpose was to detain people, those desiring to cause subversive acts causing the destruction of the country in a state of emergency without the need for trial in court for years. Not only political dissidents but also some well known drug dealers without evidence in certain circumstances, were arrested and detained under that section of the law without any trial during the Ma Hsa La Party period. During the military regime after 1988, that law enacted in the Ma Hsa La Socialist period was frequently used to detain Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

In the case of John Yettaw, who trespassed into Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s house by swimming across the Inya Lake in 2009, , the house owner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and two housemaids were charged and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for not reporting the incident to authority. But her imprisonment was reduced to 18 months and during the trial, she had to stay in a private building in Insein Prison. This is how the military regime led by Than Shwe handled the arresting and detaining of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Now in this coup, it is seen that the way Min Aung Hlaing handles, isn’t like that of Than Shwe, he already had the intention of prosecuting  since the beginning of detainment. Firstly, she was charged for importing walkie-talkies into her Villa illegally. The other one is breaking the law of natural disaster management during election campaigns during covid pandemic  period. These were initial charges filed against her then she was accused more seriously within the next few months for corruption, violation of election law and violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

The way Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was dealt with after Min Aung Hlaing seized power is different from that of Than Shwe. Now she was charged with numerous cases and put on trial on a weekly basis and allowed to talk with her lawyers etc. In Than Shwe’s military regime, after she was arrested and detained, the information was blocked as much as possible without trial and charges. During Min Aung Hlaing’s regime, there were weekly trials, and messages were leaked to the media through lawyers in the early days.

In such a situation, it seems that the military council expected Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to comment on current political situation such as Myanmar Spring Revolution’s armed movement, formation of NUG, armed attacks and killing among civilians. In other words, they seem to be expecting the message that she does not agree with the armed revolution. 

But she has not delivered such a message for more than a year as Junta expected. It is possible that she was transferred to prison from house detention and intended to be cut off from all other cases except for pending court cases.

In another way, it may be possible that the military junta has assumed it is unlikely that she would persuade her supporters to turn back from the armed revolution led by NUG and  local PDF groups in various regions.

Even-though  the initial sentence on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was reduced to half on that day, there is no more such reduction seen in the later cases.

It may be assumed that the military council had no other way to use her as an intermediary so that she was transferred to prison.