Myanmar’s military regime, which seized power in a coup last year, announced on Monday that it had executed four pro-democracy activists, including a ousted member of parliament, for what they called a “brutal and inhuman act of terrorism”. These are the country’s first executions in more than 30 years.
The four men, including prominent activist U Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, and U Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former hip-hop artist who was elected to the National Assembly, was earlier. was sentenced to death in closed-door military trials. court without an attorney present. They were executed in secret on Saturday.
All four men were detained at The notorious Insein Prison on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. Members of prison staff confirmed that executions took place and that four people were executed by hanging.
Two other activists executed were U Hla Myo Aung and U Aung Thura Zaw.
Family members, who said they were not informed of the executions, went to the prison on Monday morning to confirm that they had taken place and to attempt to recover the bodies. Relatives were allowed to speak to the man by video on Friday.
The military, which previously ruled the country for nearly half a century, has faced massive protests and a growing armed uprising against its rule.
Since toppling elected officials in a February 1, 2021 coup, the regime has attempted to quash dissent by arresting opposition leaders, shooting down unarmed protesters , bombed resistance camps and burned thousands of houses. But it was unable to subdue the resistance, who, along with armed ethnic groups who had been fighting the army for years, claimed control of about half of the country.
Among the nearly 12,000 political prisoners being held is ousted civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 77, who has been convicted of half a dozen crimes and sentenced to 11 years in prison. She faces 13 more counts with a maximum cumulative sentence of more than 180 years. Last month, she was transferred from house arrest to Naypyidaw . Prisonwhere she is being tried in a prison courtroom.
The executions of the four activists drew harsh condemnation from Myanmar opposition leaders, international human rights groups and the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, who urged foreign leaders to take tougher action against the regime.
“My heart goes out to their family, friends and loved ones and indeed all the people in Myanmar who are being victims of the increasing atrocities by the military, ” I said. “These depraved acts must be a turning point for the international community.”