BRUSSELS, June 15 (IPS) – “Illegal military forces provide further evidence to the international community of their disregard for human rights as they prepare to hang pro-democracy activists” , Thomas Andrews and Morris Tidball-Binz say, UN special rapporteurs in Myanmar on human rights and extrajudicial arbitrary executions, 10 June 2022 respectively.
“These death sentences, handed down by an illegal court against an illegal soldier, are a malicious attempt to instill fear in the people of Myanmar.”
While at least 114 people have been sentenced to death (including two minors) since the February 1, 2021 coup, only 73 have actually been detained. Others are on the run or hiding. Last week, the military junta announced that it would continue with four executions.
Four individuals were tried and convicted in a military court and were found to have no access to legal aid during the time their appeal was denied, an international violation. human rights law.
It was Ko Jimmy, 53, also known as Kyaw Min Yu, leader of the 88th Generation Student Group that stood up against the regime of former dictator Ne Win and ousted 40-year-old NLD MP Phyo Zayar Thaw. . Phyo Zayar Thaw, a legislator of the National League for Democracy from 2012 to 2020, has established herself as a member of Acid, Myanmar’s first organization hip-hop band. Acid paved the way for other Myanmar hip-hop artists.
They were sentenced to death in January by a military court along with two other anti-coup opponents on charges of treason and terrorism. The other two men, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw, were convicted in April 2021 for killing an army informant in the city of Hlaing Tharyar.
Follow Political Prisoners Support Association, the junta would not say where they have held Phyo Zayar Thaw and Ko Jimmy since their arrest. Their families fear that they have been severely tortured. If the secession cases continue, it will be Myanmar’s first judicial execution since 1988.
In a June 9 press release in the military daily Myanmar’s global new lightthe government has defended its decision by stating that it “has every right to exercise all powers and authorities conferred by the state constitution”.
Major General Junta Spokesperson Zaw Min Tun stated in two separate interviews with Burmese RFA that the appeal against the death sentence has been completed and dismiss. Therefore, there is no longer any chance of leniency and “will execute the death penalty”.
Many foreign governments and organizations have condemned the decision. Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Stephane Dujarricsaid he was “deeply disturbed” by the decision and, according to an article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, called it “a flagrant violation of the law to life, liberty and security”. of human”.
“The Secretary-General reiterates his call to respect the people’s right to freedom of opinion and expression and also drop all charges against those arrested on charges related to the exercise of rights and their basic freedom,” added Dujarric.
The embassies of France and the United States condemned the announcement, as did the national unity government NUG. Even the Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Senwho is ASEAN Vice-President this year, has urged Myanmar’s military government not to carry out the planned executions of four political prisoners, suggesting the move could further isolate the government and cause further damage. obstacles to restoring peace.
Also Amnesty International Called news of the resumption of executions ‘shocking’. They called on the authorities to “immediately abandon” the plan and called on the international community to step up intervention efforts.
“The death penalty has become one of many gruesome ways that the Myanmar military is trying to instill fear in those who oppose their rule and will contribute to serious human rights abuses, including including deadly violence against peaceful protesters and other civilians,” the organization said in a statement.
The UN also emphasizes that the imposition of the death penalty comes alongside the illegal killing of civilians by the military, now estimated at nearly 2,000.
Jan Servaes is the UNESCO Chair of Communication for Sustainable Social Change at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has taught ‘international communication’ in Australia, Belgium, China, Hong Kong, USA, the Netherlands and Thailand, alongside short-term projects at around 120 universities in 55 countries. He is the editor of the Communication Handbook for Development and Social Change 2020.
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