Former Myanmar MP dies, nation hangs for first time in nearly 50 years – National |

myanmarThe U.S. government confirmed on Monday that it carried out its first executions in nearly 50 years, hanging a former parliamentarian, a democracy activist and two other political prisoners who were charged with targeted killing after the country’s military takeover last year. was alleged.

The executions, first announced in the state-run Mirror Daily newspaper, came despite United Nations experts and worldwide pleas for clemency for four people, including Cambodia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. .

The newspaper reported that the four were executed “in accordance with legal procedures” for directing and orchestrating “violent and inhuman collaborative acts of terrorist killings”. It did not say when he was hanged.

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The military government later issued a brief statement about the executions, while the prison where the men were held and the prison department declined comment.

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Aung Myo Min, the Human Rights Minister of the National Unity Government, a shadow civilian administration set up outside Myanmar after the military seized power in February 2021, dismissed allegations that the men were involved in violence.

“Putting them to death is a way of ruling the masses through fear,” he told the Associated Press.

Among those executed was Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former member of the National League for Democracy party of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Also known as Maung Kyaw, he was indicted by a closed military court in January for crimes involving explosives, bombings and terrorism financing.

His wife, Thazin Nyunt Aung, told the AP that the world needed to hold the military accountable for the executions. “They have to pay,” she said.

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Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to prison for violating COVID-19 restrictions, state TV reports

Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to prison for violating COVID-19 restrictions, state TV reports – December 6, 2021

The US embassy in Myanmar said it mourned the loss of four people and offered condolences to their families and condemned the decision to execute them.

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“We condemn the execution of pro-democracy leaders and elected officials by the military regime for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” the embassy said.

In China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, a longtime ally of Myanmar’s military, declined to comment on the executions, saying Beijing “always upholds the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries”. “

State media said at the time that 41-year-old Phyo Zeya Thaw was arrested last November based on information from people detained for allegedly shooting security personnel. He was also accused of being a key figure in a network that described terrorist attacks by the military in the country’s largest city, Yangon.

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UN fears ‘imminent attack’ in Myanmar after military build-up – October 8, 2021

Phyo Zeya Thaw was a hip-hop musician before becoming a member of the Generation Wave political movement formed in 2007. He was jailed in 2008 under the previous military government after being charged with illegal affiliation and possession of foreign currency.

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Kyaw Min Yoo, a 53-year-old democracy activist known as Ko Jimmy, was also executed for violating an anti-terrorism law. He was one of the leaders of the 88th Generation Student Group, a veteran of an unsuccessful 1988 popular uprising against military rule.

He had already spent more than a dozen years behind bars for political activism before his arrest in Yangon last October. He was put on a wanted list for social media postings that allegedly incited unrest, and state media said he was accused of carrying out terrorist acts, including mine attacks, and an operation called the Moon Light Operation, for carrying out urban guerrilla attacks. was charged with leading the group.

The other two, Hala Myo Aung and Aung Thura Jaw, were convicted in March 2021 of torturing and killing a woman they allegedly believed to be a military informer.

Human Rights Watch’s acting director of Asia, Ellen Pearson, said the legal proceedings against the four were a “grossly unjust and politically motivated military trial”.

“The brutality of the people and the harsh disregard for human life are intended to quell the anti-coup movement,” she said after the executions were announced.

Phyo Zeya Thaw arrives at the Myanmar Parliament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on August 19, 2015. Myanmar has carried out its first execution in nearly 50 years. Phyo Zeya Thaw, a 41-year-old former MP from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, was convicted in January by a closed military court of offenses related to explosives, bombings and terrorism financing.

ap file photo

Thomas Andrews, an independent UN-appointed expert on human rights who condemned the decision to go ahead with the executions when they were announced in June, called for a strong international response.

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“I am outraged and devastated by the news of the execution of the junta to Myanmar’s patriots and champions of human rights and decency,” he said in a statement. “These individuals have been tried, convicted and sentenced by military tribunals without the right of appeal and allegedly without legal advice, in violation of international human rights law.”

Myanmar’s foreign ministry sparked a wave of criticism following its announcement in June, declaring that its judicial system was impartial and that Phyo Zeya Thaw and Kyaw Min U were “conspiracy to carry out full-scale terrorist attacks against innocent civilians”. Was proved to be the mastermind of the creation. Fear and disrupt peace and stability.”

“They killed at least 50 people,” military spokesman Major General Jae Min Tun told a televised news conference last month. He said the decision to hang the prisoners was in accordance with the rule of law and was aimed at preventing such incidents in future.

The military’s seizure of power from Suu Kyi’s elected government triggered peaceful protests that soon escalated to armed resistance and then widespread fighting, which some UN experts characterize as a civil war.

Some resistance groups have engaged in killings, drive-by-shoots and bombings in urban areas. Mainstream opposition organizations generally reject such activities, while supporting armed resistance in rural areas that are often subject to brutal military attacks.

The last judicial execution believed to be carried out in Myanmar was that of another political criminal, student leader Salai Tin Maung Oo, in 1976 under the previous military government led by dictator Ne Win.

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In 2014, the sentence of prisoners sentenced to death was commuted to life imprisonment, but several dozen convicts received the death penalty between then and last year’s takeover.

Aid for Political Prisoners, a non-governmental organization tracking murders and arrests, said on Friday that 2,114 civilians have been killed by security forces since the military takeover. It said 115 others have been sentenced to death.

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