Friday, August 12, 2022

Myanmar military executes four democracy activists

Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup last year and has unleashed a bloody crackdown on those opposed to it.

• July 25, 2022
Kyaw Min Yu, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung, Aung Thura Zaw
Kyaw Min Yu, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw

Myanmar’s ruling military has executed four democracy activists accused of helping to carry out “terror acts”, it said on Monday, sparking widespread condemnation of the Southeast Asian nation’s first executions in decades.

Sentenced to death in closed-door trials in January and April, the men had been accused of helping a resistance movement to fight the army that seized power in a coup last year and unleashed a bloody crackdown on opponents.

Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow administration outlawed by the junta, called for international action against the military.

“The global community must punish their cruelty,” Kyaw Zaw, the spokesperson for the NUG president’s office, told Reuters in a text message.

Among those executed were democracy campaigner Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Jimmy, and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

The execution of the activists is Myanmar’s first in more than three decades and defies international appeals for restraint.

The four men included two high-profile activists: Kyaw Min Yu, also known as Ko Jimmy, who became popular after a series of student uprisings in 1988, and Phyo Zeya Thaw, a hip-hop artist turned lawmaker, who was widely admired among Myanmar’s youths.

Messrs Zeya Thaw, 41, and Min Yu, 53, were convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to death in closed-door trials last fall.

The other two men executed were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, state media reported, who were convicted of killing an alleged military informant.

Moe Zaw Oo, a member of the unity government – an alliance of anti-junta groups, many of which are in exile – said NUG officials were alerted to the executions early Monday.


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