Crime & Justice

Myanmar junta executes four democracy activists

Bangkok, Jul 25 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta has reportedly executed four prisoners, including two opposition politicians, in the country’s first use of the death penalty in more than three decades, according to state media on Monday.

The military authorities said the “punishment has been conducted under the prison’s procedures,” a brief note from Myanmar News Agency said. It did not specify when or how, but executions have previously been by hanging.

Those executed include 41-year-old Phyo Zeyar Thaw, a lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and former hip-hop artist, and activist Kyaw Min Yu, 53 years old and known as Jimmy, who were convicted in January on terrorism charges.

The other two inmates were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, accused of having killed a woman believed to be an informer for the military.

The agency said the four inmates “gave directions, made arrangements, and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts such as murdering.”

Myanmar’s National Unity Government, a shadow administration, condemned the reported executions.

“Extremely shocked & saddened to read the news of the execution of four democracy activists,” it said on Twitter.

It urged the United Nations, the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian countries and the international community to “punish murderous #Myanmar military junta for their cruelty and killings.”

The junta, which seized control of the country on Feb. 1, 2021 in a coup, announced in early June that it would resume the use of the death penalty.

The decision was condemned by many countries including France, the United States and Canada as well as the United Nations, and hundreds of local and international non-governmental organizations.

The last execution to be carried out in Myanmar was in 1988, under the defunct military junta that ruled the country between 1962 and 2011, according to Amnesty International.

Since the military coup, 113 people have been sentenced to death in Myanmar, which has not banned capital punishment, but where death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment after the traditional pardons that the authorities grant on special dates.

The military coup plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social and economic crisis, while triggering a spiral of violence with the formation of new civilian militias that have exacerbated decades of guerrilla warfare.

At least 2,114 people have died as a result of violent repression by security forces, according to data collected by the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which does not count those killed during armed clashes or the deaths of those linked to the military regime. EFE


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