Four democracy activists accused of committing “terror acts” have been executed by Myanmar’s military.
News of the killings was reported by state media this week and later confirmed by junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun. However details of the date and method of execution were not disclosed.
The executions, likely carried out by hanging, are believed to be Myanmar’s first judicial executions since the late 1980s. This is according to the activist group, Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP).
Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, a 53-year-old democracy campaigner, and Phyo Zeya Thaw, a 41-year-old former lawmaker and ally of ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, were among those executed. These two, along with Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, were sentenced to death in closed-door trials in January and April.
Global News Light of Myanmar, the country’s state-owned newspaper, reported that the four men were sentenced to death because they “gave directives, made arrangements and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts”.
Both Yu and Thaw appealed the ruling but were unsuccessful.
The Myanmar junta has been the subject of widespread criticism following a 2021 coup and subsequent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, activists and journalists. News of the recent executions has bolstered such condemnation.
Erwin Van Der Borght of Amnesty International referred to the killings as an “arbitrary deprivation of lives” and another example of “Myanmar’s atrocious human rights record”.
“The four men were convicted by a military court in highly secretive and unfair trials” he continued. “The international community must act immediately as more than one hundred people are believed to be on death row after being convicted in similar proceedings.”
Likewise, the outlawed National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar has called for international action against the governing military.
“The global community must punish their cruelty” said Kyaw Zaw, an NUG spokesman.