The Myanmar junta still intend to execute 4 activists despite appeals from around 200 civil society organisations pleading with the military government to drop the ruling.
The UN Amnesty International, and 199 civil society organisations have all backed a statement calling for the Myanmar junta to reverse their decision over the 4 activists.
“We, the following organizations and world citizens condemn the order of execution and call for Phyo Zeya Thaw, Ko Jimmy, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw to be given justice and respect before the law. We also call for the immediate release of all political prisoners, the end of violence and for the establishment of genuine peace and federal democracy in Myanmar.”
The Myanmar junta dismissed these pleas insisting it will execute the 4 people convicted in the country’s first judicial executions since 1990.
The 4 people sentenced to death include ex National League for Democracy Member of Parliament Phyo Zeya Thaw, and democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu, better known as ‘Ko Jimmy’, for alleged terrorism, while Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw were convicted and sentenced to death for killing a woman they alleged was an informer for the junta in Yangon.
Myanmar Maj Gen, Zaw Min Tun, Chief of the Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) True News Information Team, says no date has been set for the executions.
The 4 have all gone through the legal process of appealing and asking for an amendment of the sentence but the court rejected their appeals. There is no other step in Myanmar after that.
A Myanmar legal expert, Min Lwin, says the 4 have not received a fair trial.
“First of all, it’s not a fair trial because they lost their legal rights to defend at the military tribunal. They also lost their rights to legal counsel during the appeal process.
“Normally, the appeals process for death sentence takes up to 3 to 5 years through different courts and takes at least 4 to 5 years to go through state leaders. But such a fast-track process is unprecedented.”
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric says he is deeply troubled by the Myanmar military’s decision to proceed with the execution of 2 pro-democracy activists after they received death sentences.
“This is a blatant violation of the right to life, liberty, and security of person as per Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
A spokesperson for Amnesty International called on the junta to “immediately drop such plans and for the international community to step up its efforts to intervene.”
Phil Robertson, a deputy director at Human Rights Watch, added that the junta’s decision to “move towards executing two prominent political leaders will be like pouring gasoline on the fire of popular anti-military resistance in the country.”
Phyo Zeya Thaw is accused of orchestrating a number of attacks on junta’s forces, including a gun attack on a commuter train in Yangon in August that killed 5 policemen. He was imprisoned in 2008 for being a member of an illegal organisation and being in possession of foreign currency. He was elected to parliament representing Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD in the 2015 elections, which ushered in a transition to civilian rule.
Kyaw Min Yu, who rose to prominence during Myanmar’s 1988 student uprising against the country’s previous military regime, was arrested in an overnight raid in October. The junta issued an arrest warrant for him last year, alleging he had incited unrest with his social media posts.
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