Myanmar’s military junta executed four prisoners on death row, including two for political reasons

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers stand next to military vehicles as people gather to protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

The Myanmar military junta executed four prisoners, including two opposition politicians, in what would be the first application of the death penalty in the last three decades, the official press reported on Monday.

In a brief note published by the Myanmar National Agency, controlled by the military regime, the military authorities confirm that “the punishment has been carried out” by hanging, without specifying when.

Those executed include former National League for Democracy MP Phyo Zeyar Thaw and activist Ko Jimmy, who were convicted in January on terrorism charges over their activities against the junta..

The other two inmates are Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, accused of having killed a woman for allegedly being an informer for the military.

The military junta accuses them of “preparing and conspiring to commit brutal and inhuman terrorist acts such as murders,” according to the note published by the official media.

“Extremely shocked and saddened to read the news of the execution of four pro-democracy activists”pointed out in a Twitter message the self-styled Government of National Unity, opposed to the uniformed men, who called on the United Nations, the European Union and the bloc of Southeast Asian countries “Punish the military junta for its cruelty and murders.”

The military regime, which took control of the country on February 1, 2021 through a coup, announced in early June that it would resume the application of the death penalty.

Myanmar citizens living in India hold a banner as they attend a protest, organized by pro-democracy supporters, against the military coup in Myanmar
Myanmar citizens living in India hold a banner as they attend a protest, organized by democracy supporters, against the military coup in Myanmar (ANUSHREE FADNAVIS/)

A measure condemned by several countries such as France, the United States and Canada, in addition to the United Nations, as well as hundreds of local and international non-governmental organizations.

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

Since the military coup of February 1, 2021, 113 people have received death sentences in Burma, a country that has not revoked the death penalty, but where the convicted saw their sentences exchanged for prison sentences after the traditional pardons that the authorities granted on specified dates.

The coup d’état has plunged Burma into a deep political, social and economic crisis, and opened a spiral of violence with new civilian militias that have exacerbated the guerrilla war that the country has been experiencing for decades.

At least 2,114 civilians have been killed as a result of the brutal repression carried out by police and soldiers, who have shot to kill peaceful and unarmed protesters, according to data collected by the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, which does not count those killed during armed confrontations or fatalities linked to the military regime.

(With EFE information)


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