UK slaps sanctions on Myanmar generals over coup

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LONDON (AP) — Britain is slapping sanctions on three of Myanmar’s military leaders over a coup that ousted the country’s elected government.

The Foreign Office said Thursday that the U.K. was imposing travel bans and asset freezes on Defense Minister Gen. Mya Tun Oo, Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Soe Htut and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Than Hlaing for their roles in serious human rights violations during the coup.

The U.K. said Canada was taking similar action.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the coup and said “we, alongside our international allies, will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people.”

Even before the coup, Britain had imposed sanctions on 16 other members of Myanmar's military for human rights violations.

The British government said it was also ending aid programs that sent money to the Myanmar government, though it said aid would still reach “the poorest and most vulnerable in Myanmar.”

The U.K. is the ex-colonial ruler of Burma, as Myanmar was formerly known.

The Myanmar military seized power on Feb. 1 and detained national leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy figures.

The junta said the takeover was necessary because Suu Kyi’s government had failed to investigate fraud claims in elections her party won in a landslide; the election commission has dismissed those claims.

Since the coup, the junta has ratcheted up the pressure on protesters resisting the takeover, including violently breaking up some demonstrations and blocking internet access.