22:14 GMT03 March 2021
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    Myanmar police issued a second charge against Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since early February after the military seized power in a coup. Military leaders claim that the takeover took place due massive voter fraud in last year's election.

    The British government condemned the new military government in Myanmar on Tuesday and demanded the release of Burmese political leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed the new charges against Suu Kyi during a closed court hearing have been "fabricated" by the Myanmar military and are a "clear violation" of her human rights.

    ​Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also called the charges against former Myanmar leader Suu Kyi "politically motived" and pledged to ensure those responsible for her arrest are "held to account." 

    "Aung San Suu Kyi and all other elected politicians arbitrarily held must be released immediately," the UK foreign secretary said. "The UK and like minded nations will not ignore these violations. We will ensure those responsible are held to account."

    The UK government's stance comes in the wake of a new charge levelled against Suu Kyi – she's now been accused of breaching natural disaster management laws. She's been under house arrest since 1 February when she was removed from power and detained during a military coup.

    Her legal representative, Khin Maung Zaw, said he was unaware of the new charge until a judge told him about it on the same day as Suu Kyi’s closed court hearing

    A police document also alleges that she broke import-export laws by possessing six walkie talkies bought illegally from overseas.

    The next hearing is set for 1 March – Suu Kyi will remain locked up until then. Zaw says he will try to get her bailed. 

    Prior to the UK foreign secretary's comments, a US State Department official informing told a reporter on Tuesday that Washington has officially declared the military seizure of power a coup, which therefore “triggers certain restrictions on foreign assistance to the government."

    The US official also said that the White House “will take action against those responsible" while support for humanitarian assistance and pro-democracy programmes will continue.

    Myanmar military officials claim the takeover was necessary due to accusations of voter fraud during the November elections that saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy win overwhelmingly. 

    While the new government says they will hold fresh elections in a year, curfews and bans on large gathering continue to be ignored by protestors demanding an end to the military regime.

    Tags:
    Dominic Raab, Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi
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