US, UK, Canada sanction top Myanmar justice officials

The United States, United Kingdom and Canada have imposed sanctions on senior Myanmar officials, on the one-year anniversary of a military coup.

The US Department of the Treasury took action against Attorney General Thida Oo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman U Tin Oo, whom it said were closely involved in the “politically motivated” prosecution of ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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The sanctions were announced by the US Treasury and State Departments to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the February 2021 coup, when the military detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected officials and seized power for themselves.

The UK said it was imposing sanctions against Thida Oo, Tin Oo and a third person, U Thein Soe, a former military man who was appointed chair of the country’s election commission after the coup.

“We are coordinating these actions with the United Kingdom and Canada to demonstrate the international community’s strong support for the people of Burma and to further promote accountability for the coup and the violence perpetrated by the regime,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“The United States will continue to work with our international partners to address human rights abuses and press the regime to cease the violence, release all those unjustly detained, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and restore Burma’s path to democracy,” Blinken said.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Myanmar’s military regime “has attempted to terrorise the people of Myanmar into submission.”

“Through fear and violence, they have created division and conflict,” Truss said in a statement.

“The UK will always defend the right to freedom, democracy and the rule of law. With like-minded nations, we will hold to account this suppressive, brutal regime.”

The Canadian government in a statement said the military had “shown no sign of reversing course” on the humanitarian and political situation in Myanmar in the past year.

It imposed sanctions on the same three people as Washington, saying they were “using their respective roles to abuse the rule of law and remove political opposition, thus contributing to a grave breach of international peace and the deteriorating security situation”.

The US also separately imposed sanctions against several business leaders and companies accused of providing financial support to Myanmar’s military.

Targeted were Jonathan Myo Kyaw Thaung, CEO of the KT Group and director of the KT Group subsidiary KTSL, which operates a major port in Myanmar’s biggest city and commercial hub of Yangon and Tay Za, owner of “multiple companies known to provide equipment and services, including arms, to the Burmese military”.

Htoo Htet Tay Za and Pye Phyo Tay Za, the adult sons of Tay Za, were also designated for sanctions, the US Treasury said.

The penalties freeze any assets that those targeted may have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.


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