US leads international outcry over execution of 4 Burmese anti-government activists

The US State Department has reacted to the murder of four democracy activists in a state-sanctioned execution, promising that there would be “further measures” to punish the military junta.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price called on countries to refuse to recognise the junta as Myanmar’s rightful government refuses to sell sales of military equipment to the military-controlled nation.

“All options are on the table.”

Price also said that previously left out of the list of sanctions, Myanmar’s gas exports could be leveraged as the US reconsiders the current situation.

He has also called on China to leverage its power to influence the current leadership’s actions and supported the ASEAN bloc to maintain its precedent of barring Burmese junta representatives from its meetings.

The Burmese junta seized power in the early morning of February 1 last year.

The four people executed were…

• Kyaw Min Yu (aka. Ko Jimmy)

The 53 year old rose to prominence as a student leader during the 1988 uprising against Myanmar’s previous military regime.

• Phyo Zeya Thaw

The 41 year old was a former politician from Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected ‘National League for Democracy’ and was a close ally of the ousted leader.

• Hla Myo Aung, and

• Aung Thura Zaw

The pair were convicted on April 12 and sentenced to death the next month. The prosecutors at the trial said that they had killed a woman who was suspected of being an informant for the military. The Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, an activist group, said they were from Yangon and had been involved in protests and resistance movements since the 2021 coup.

The trials were held in secret and there was no recordings or rights of appeal in any of the trials.

The Burmese military’s bloody crackdown has seen more than 5,600 civilians killed in Myanmar since the coup, according to estimates by an independent research institute, which called the death toll “unprecedented” in the country’s history, the Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP Myanmar).

The country’s first executions in decades have triggered an international outcry.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews…

“I am outraged and devastated at the news of the junta’s execution of Myanmar patriots and champions of human rights and democracy. My heart goes out to their families, friends, and loved ones and indeed all the people in Myanmar who are victims of the junta’s escalating atrocities… These depraved acts must be a turning point for the international community.”

Acting Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson…

“The Myanmar junta’s execution of four men was an act of utter cruelty. These executions … followed grossly unjust and politically motivated military trials. The junta’s barbarity and callous disregard for human life aim to chill the anti-coup protest movement. European Union member states, the United States, and other governments should show the junta that there will be a reckoning for its crimes.”

Amnesty International International Regional Director, Erwin van der Borght…

“These executions amount to arbitrary deprivation of lives and are another example of Myanmar’s atrocious human rights record. The four men were convicted by a military court in highly secretive and deeply unfair trials. The international community must act immediately as more than 100 people are believed to be on death row after being convicted in similar proceedings.”

Neither the Thai government nor leading Thai politicians have made any public statement about the executions.

SOURCES: Reuters | Bangkok Post

World News

Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.

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