Myanmar military executes four democracy activists

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Four democracy activists have been executed by Myanmar’s military in what is believed to be the first use of capital punishment in decades.

Former lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw, writer and activist Ko Jimmy, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw were accused of committing “terror acts”.

The executions, which were first announced by the military in June, drew international condemnation.

They come in the wake of a 2021 military coup.

The junta overthrew the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in February last year, sparking huge protests which were swiftly crushed.

The shadow National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG), which was formed in opposition to the coup, condemned the killings, saying they were “extremely shocked and saddened”.

It comprises pro-democracy figures, representatives of armed ethnic groups and members of the NLD. They urged the international community to “punish (the) murderous military junta for their cruelty and killings”.

The state news outlet – Global News Light of Myanmar – said the four men were executed as they “gave directives, made arrangements and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts”.

It said they had been charged under the counter terrorism laws, but did not say when or how they were executed.

The executions are the first since 1988, according to the United Nations. Previous executions in Myanmar have been by hanging.

Agencies

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