Myanmar: 4 activists executed, state media reports

More than 2,100 people have been killed by the security forces since the coup last year

By Reuters

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Published: Mon 25 Jul 2022, 6:47 AM

Myanmar's military authorities have executed four democracy activists accused of helping carry out "terror acts", the state media reported on Monday. This marks the first executions conducted in decades in the country.

The four were sentenced to death in January in a closed-doors trial, after they were accused of helping militias fight the army that seized power in a coup last year, and unleashed a bloody crackdown on its opponents.

The scheduled executions had received international condemnation, with two UN experts labelling them a "vile attempt at instilling fear" among the people.

The executed men included democracy icon Kyaw Min Yu (better known as Jimmy) and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, stated the Global New Light of Myanmar, a local English daily.

Kyaw Min Yu, 53, and Phyo Zeya Thaw, a 41-year-old ally of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, lost their appeals in June. The other two executed men were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.

The newspaper stated, without elaboration, that the four had been charged under the counter-terrorism law of the penal code, and the punishment had been conducted under prison procedures. Executions in Myanmar have previously been carried out by hanging.

The Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP), an activist group, said the last judicial executions in Myanmar took place in the late 1980s.

A military spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. Thazin Nyunt Aung, the wife of Phyo Zeyar Thaw, said she had not been informed of her husband's execution. Other relatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Myanmar has been in chaos since last year's coup, with conflict spreading across the country after the army crushed (mostly) peaceful protests in cities.

According to the AAPP, more than 2,100 people have been killed by the security forces since the coup— a figure the junta claims to be exaggerated.

A clear picture of the violence has become hard to assess, since clashes have spread to more remote areas, where ethnic minority insurgencies are also fighting the military.


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