Myanmar Carries Out First Executions in 46 Years

Hangings were widely condemned
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 25, 2022 1:00 AM CDT
Myanmar Carries Out First Executions in Nearly 50 Years
Kyaw Min Yu, a pro-democracy activist, talks to journalists as he arrives at Yangon airport after being released from a prison on Jan. 13, 2012, in Yangon. The 53-year-old better known as Ko Jimmy, was one of the leaders of the 88 Generation Students Group, and one of four men executed by Myanmar.   (AP Photo/File)

Myanmar has carried out its first executions in nearly 50 years with the hangings of a former National League for Democracy lawmaker, a democracy activist, and two men accused of violence after the country's military takeover last year. The executions announced Monday were carried out despite worldwide pleas for clemency for the four political detainees, the AP reports. The Mirror Daily state newspaper said the four planned, directed, and organized "the violent and inhuman accomplice acts of terrorist killings.” The paper said they were hanged according to prison procedures but did not say when the executions occurred.

Western governments, rights groups, and UN experts blasted the decision to hang the men. “The illegitimate military junta is providing the international community with further evidence of its disregard for human rights as it prepares to hang pro-democracy activists,” two UN experts—Thomas Andrews, special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, and Morris Tidball-Binz, special rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions—said earlier. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had earlier urged Myanmar to reconsider and suggested their executions would draw strong condemnation and complicate efforts to restore peace.

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry rejected criticism of the decision to proceed with the executions, declaring that Myanmar's judicial system is fair and that Phyo Zeya Thaw and Kyaw Min Yu were “proven to be masterminds of orchestrating full-scale terrorist attacks against innocent civilians to instill fear and disrupt peace and stability.” A military spokesperson said the decision to hang the four prisoners was for the rule of law and to prevent similar incidents in the future. According to Myanmar law, executions must be approved by the head of the government. The last judicial execution to be carried out in Myanmar is generally believed to have been of another political offender, student leader Salai Tin Maung Oo, in 1976 under a previous military government led by dictator Ne Win.

(More Myanmar stories.)

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