Crime & Justice

Myanmar military courts have sentenced 65 people to death, HRW says

Bangkok Desk, Jul 21 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military courts have sentenced 65 people to death in “unjust trials” since the Feb. 1 coup, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday.

The sentences have been imposed against 26 people in detention and 39 convicted in absentia in areas of Yangon where the military junta has imposed martial law since March to quell the huge opposition movement, it said.

Under martial law, up to 23 crimes are punishable by death. The majority are not capital crimes in civilian courts.

“The Myanmar junta has added to its mass shootings of protesters on the streets by having military tribunals hand down several dozen death sentences after egregiously unfair trials,” said Shayna Bauchner, HRW’s Asia researcher.

Despite the fact that Myanmar law maintains capital punishment and has continued to sentence people to death, the country has not executed anyone since 1988, the NGO points out.

“These bogus military tribunals are handing down unfair and unappealable death sentences under direction from a commander sanctioned by the European Union, United States, and others for committing the worst crimes under international law,” Bauchner said, referring to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.

The HRW researcher urged the international community demand “the release of all those wrongfully imprisoned and [ramp] up pressure so the junta knows that what they do – even behind prison doors – is being watched.”

After more than five and a half months, the junta has still not managed to garner support in the country and the violent crackdown by security forces has left at least 922 dead, according to the latest figures from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The military has justified the coup alleging fraud in elections held in November, in which deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party repeated its resounding victory of 2015, with international observers backing the polls. EFE


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