US sanctions Myanmar military-tied businesses, junta court officials

The U.S., Britain and Canada on Monday imposed new sanctions on businesses and individuals tied to the Myanmar military junta that overthrew the country’s elected civilian government a year ago, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The latest set of sanctions comes a day before the one-year anniversary of the coup that ousted the National League for Democracy-led government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which won Myanmar’s November 2020 election in a landslide, prompting still-unproven army accusations of voter fraud.

In the capital Naypitaw, military junta chief Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and the National Defense and Security Council agreed to extend the “Nationwide State of Emergency” declared at the Feb. 1 coup for six months, a military statement said. 

Junta security forces have since the takeover violently suppressed widespread opposition to military control, killing at least 1,503 and arresting 8,835 others during protests calling for a return to civilian rule, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The U.S., Britain and Canada have already imposed several rounds of sanctions following the coup, targeting Min Aung Hlaing and members of the ruling State Administrative Council, as well as major military business conglomerates. Sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of those listed and bar Americans from dealing with them.

In a statement Monday, Blinken said that sanctions have been imposed on Myanmar’s Directorate of Procurement of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services; on Tay Za, a prominent business supporter of the regime, and on his adult sons Htoo Htet Tay Za and Phy Phyo Tay Za.

Also sanctioned are junta-tied businessman Jonathan Myo Kyaw Thaung and his KT Services and Logistics Company Ltd., whose businesses hold land leases with Myanmar’s military and broker arms deals and the sale of related materiel for junta forces.

Three other junta officials — Supreme Court Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo, Union Attorney General Thida Oo, and Anti-Corruption Commission Chair Tin Oo — have also been sanctioned “for their role in enabling the regime to undermine the rule of law and Burma’s democratic institutions,” Blinken said, referring to Myanmar by its colonial-era name.

In a companion statement Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department said that pursuant to Executive Order 14014, “all property and interests in property of the persons named above that are in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control].”

“In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked,” the Department said.

Monday’s actions are being coordinated with the U.K. 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,” Blinken said.

“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.”