International Condemnation As Four Democracy Activists Are Executed In Myanmar

Military authorities in Myanmar have executed four democracy activists accused of helping orchestrate "terror acts", state media reported. The executions have been met with international outcry.

One of the executed men Phyo Zeya Thaw
One of the executed men Phyo Zeya Thaw

The four activists that have been executed were sentenced to death in a closed-door trial in January after being accused of assisting militias to fight the army that seized power in a coup last year.

The executions that are the first to be carried out in decades in the Southeast Asian country have caused an international outcry with two UN experts calling them a "vile attempt at instilling fear" among the people.

The executed men included former politician and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, and democracy-figure Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Jimmy.

Kyaw Min Yu
Kyaw Min Yu was also executed

53-year-old Kyaw Min Yu, and Phyo Zeya Thaw, 41, an ally of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, lost their appeals in June to overturn the death sentence.

The other two executed men were Aung Thura Zaw and Hla Myo Aung.

The state newspaper said that the four men had been charged under the counter-terrorism law and the execution had been "conducted under prison procedures".

Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a senior advocacy officer at the Burma Campaign UK, said: "This is a desperately sad day for family and friends of those executed. "I have known Ko Jimmy my whole life, he was an inspiration to me. He dedicated his life to freedom and democracy for the people of Burma."

Phyo Zeya Thaw pictured with ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi
Phyo Zeya Thaw pictured with ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Regional director for Amnesty International Erwin van der Borght, said: "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."

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said: "The United States condemns in the strongest terms the Burmese military regime's heinous execution of pro-democracy activists and elected leaders."

Although the method used in this instance has not been confirmed, executions in Myanmar have previously been carried out by hanging.

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