Myanmar: First executions in decades – military junta carries out four death sentences

The ruling military junta has ensured that, for the first time in decades, death sentences were carried out in Myanmar. Four prisoners were executed for their responsibility for “brutal and inhumane acts of terrorism,” state media report.

Among those killed, according to the report, is a former member of parliament from the party of ousted de facto government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as another well-known activist.

Since taking power in February 2021, the junta has sentenced dozens of its opponents to death. However, no death sentences have been carried out in Myanmar for decades.

Then, in early June, the military leadership announced the executions of former MP Phyo Zeya Thaw and activist Kyaw Min Yu, as well as two other prisoners, but did not announce a date.

State media now report that the executions were carried out “according to the prison’s procedure.” There are no more specific details on the method or timing. In June, it had been reported that the convicts were to be hanged.

Phyo Zeya Thaw was arrested in November and sentenced in January. He was accused, among other things, of organizing an armed attack on a commuter train in Myanmar’s capital Yangon that left five police officers dead.

Kyaw Min Yu had come to prominence in 1988 during student protests against Myanmar’s then military government. He was arrested last October. He is accused of calling for unrest on online networks.

The military overthrew Myanmar’s elected government under Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi last spring. Since then, the military has ruled the Southeast Asian state, against which self-styled People’s Defense Forces have risen up.