Police in Myanmar have filed a charge against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been remanded in detention until 15 February.
Ms Suu Kyi, who was detained on Monday as Myanmar ‘ s military staged a coup, is charged with breaching the country’s import and export laws.
A police document states that four illegally imported handheld radios were discovered during a search of Ms Suu Kyi’s home in the capital Naypyidaw, where she is currently under house arrest.
Party officials say she has not been moved since being charged.
The document then adds that as well as being imported illegally, the unregistered walkie-talkies had been used by the 75-year-old Nobel laureate’s bodyguards without permission.
It said the reason for detention was “to question witnesses, request evidence and seek legal counsel after questioning the defendant”.
Police have also filed charges against ousted president Win Myint, according to a separate document which says the offences come under the country’s Disaster Management Law.
Mark Farmaner, the director of Burma Campaign UK, told Sky News that the charge against Ms Suu Kyi was “farcical” and was a sign of the army’s fear.
He said in an email: “Over the years they have jailed her for being a subversive element, for having John Yettaw swim across a lake to her home, and now for having a walkie talkie in her home.
“The reality is that they are jailing her because they remain terrified of her.”
Myanmar’s military maintains the coup is in response to “election fraud” from last November’s ballot, despite pleas across the country to respect the result.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said the coup did nothing but “rub salt in the wounds” of the millions who voted in November and warned the country could be heading back to “a ruthless military dictatorship”.
“These charges are ludicrous,” said APHR chair Charles Santiago. “This is an absurd move by the junta to try to legitimise their illegal power grab from Myanmar’s democratically-elected government.”
Staff at 70 hospitals and medical departments in 30 towns across the country have also joined forces to strike and create the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement in rejection of the coup.
It says the army has put its own interests above a vulnerable population during the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 3,100 people.
“We refuse to obey any order from the illegitimate military regime who demonstrated they do not have any regards for our poor patients,” the group said.
International response has also seen widespread condemnation, with the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US, and the High Representative of the European Union releasing a joint statement demanding the military “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”.
US President Joe Biden has gone further to threaten fresh sanctions after they were removed in the last decade because of progress towards democracy.
Boris Johnson summoned Myanmar’s ambassador in London and has insisted the election result “must be respected and civilian leaders released”.
Hundreds of members of Myanmar’s parliament are currently confined inside their government housing in the capital Naypyidaw, while power has been handed to military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The military says it will impose a state of emergency for one year – a move that the UN fears will worsen the plight of some 600,000 Rohingya Muslims still in the country.