The ousted Myanmar ambassador to the UK has been ordered by the country’s military junta to leave his London residence or face prosecution by the new regime.
In a hand-delivered letter, Kyaw Zwar Minn, who was last week forced out of the Myanmar embassy at the orders of the regime, has now been told to quit the Hampstead house where he has lived with his family since his appointment in 2013.
In a move designed to strengthen the hand of officials loyal to the military government which ousted Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Kyaw Zwar Minn has been given until Thursday to leave.
The ambassador’s supporters say he has been kept under constant surveillance at the house by regime officials and is unable to leave the building for fear they will enter and bar him access.
Kyaw Zwar Minn was prevented from entering his own embassy last Wednesday and forced to spend the night in his car after the Mayfair building was seized by officials loyal to the junta.
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Although himself a former military colonel, Kyaw Zwar Minn angered Myanmar’s armed junta last month after he expressed his opposition to the successful coup they launched on Feb 1.
He called publicly for the release of deposed civilian leader Ms Suu Kyi and ousted president Win Myint.
Now supporters close to the ambassador say he and his wife and son are in fear for their lives.
One told The Telegraph: “They are being watched all the time. They cannot leave the residence in case regime officials enter and lock them out. Now they have been ordered to leave.
“They need the help of the British Government. If they go back home they risk being killed by the regime.”
A friend of the ambassador added: “They cannot sleep. They are very anxious about what will happen and who might try to break in at any time. We keep a watch all the time to stop the regime’s officials entering.”
Staff loyal to the ambassador keep the gates to the large red brick residence, close to Hampstead Heath, locked at all times, admitting only trusted friends and supporters.
A letter ordering the ambassador to leave was posted through the letter box of the residence on Sunday.
Signed by Aung Kyaw Zan, director general of Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it stated: "Kyaw Swar Minn was fired from his job as an ambassador of the Burmese Embassy in London.
"Vehicles for embassy staff, telecommunications equipment, embassy emergency funds, state documents such as office documents, office computers and related items should be returned by April 15 at the latest. Failure to do so will result in legal action against you."
Asked to comment on the ambassador’s imminent eviction from his home, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are seeking to ensure Kyaw Zwar Minn can live safely in the United Kingdom, while he decides his long-term future.”
Following Kyaw Zwar Minn’s eviction from his embassy, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, condemned the "bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime" and praised his courage.
But the FCDO said it was obliged to accept Kyaw Zwar Minn’s eviction from the embassy after it received formal diplomatic notification of his dismissal from the Myanmar authorities.
Meanwhile, Ms Suu Kyi asked a court on Monday to be allowed to meet her lawyers in person as she faces charges filed since she was overthrown.
Ms Suu Kyi, who has been held in detention since the coup, appeared for a court hearing on a video link. An additional charge was filed against her, related to a natural disaster law, her lawyer Min Min Soe said.
The next hearing is set for April 26.
At the same time the Special Advisory Council on Myanmar – a group of international experts who have served as special advisers to the UN – has released more details on Friday’s Bago massacre, in which at least 82 people were killed.
They said soldiers launched a pre-dawn attack on a protest camp in Bago, a town near Yangon. The soldiers surrounded the area and began firing continuously, shooting at anyone.
Soldiers dragged away the bodies of those killed and piled them in the compound of a pagoda, along with others who were injured and were refused medical treatment. By Saturday morning the bodies had been removed.
“It is hard to imagine the horror that took place in Bago,” says Yanghee Lee, founding member of SACM. “Pre-dawn attacks, massacre, piles of bodies, bodies desecrated and evidence destroyed – this is what a Tatmadaw clearance operation like. The junta is on a killing spree, murdering the people they are supposed to protect and serve.”
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