Four pro-democracy activists executed in Burma, including former MP

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Burma carried out the first execution of political prisoners in decades since military takeover of the country in 2021.

The hanging of former MP Phyo Zeya Tou, democracy activist Kyaw Min Yew and two other political prisoners, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thur Za, was first announced in a public Mirror Daily newspaper.

FILE: Phyo Zeya Toe arrives at the Myanmar Parliament in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, August 1.  19, 2015.

FILE: Phyo Zeya Toe arrives at the Myanmar Parliament in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, August 1. 19, 2015.
(AP photo)

The executions drew swift condemnation from world leaders, including UN Secretary General António Guterres whose spokesman Farhan Haq denounced them as “a further deterioration of the already dire human rights situation in Burma”.

The four men were executed “in accordance with legal procedures” for leading and organizing “violent and inhumane acts of aiding and abetting terrorist murders,” Mirror Daily reported, without specifying when they were hanged.

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The military government later issued a brief statement on the executions, while the prison that held the men and the prison department declined to comment.

The US Embassy in Burma said it mourned the loss of the four men and offered its condolences to their families, regretting the decision to execute them.

“We condemn the military regime’s execution of pro-democracy leaders and elected officials for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” the embassy said in a statement.

Anti-coup protesters display the party flag of the National League for Democracy (NLD) during a demonstration in Yangon, Burma, on Friday, May 14, 2021.

Anti-coup protesters display the party flag of the National League for Democracy (NLD) during a demonstration in Yangon, Burma, on Friday, May 14, 2021.
(AP photo)

The Burmese Foreign Ministry dismissed the wave of criticism that followed his announcement in June, saying that its judiciary was fair and that Fio Zeya Thau and others had “proven to be the mastermind behind organizing full-scale terrorist attacks against innocent civilians to instill fear” . and disrupt peace and stability.”

“They killed at least 50 people,” the military spokesman, Major, said. Gene. Zau Ming Tun said at a televised press conference last month. He said the decision to hang prisoners was in line with the rule of law and the goal was to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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The military seizure of power from Suu Kyi’s elected government sparked peaceful protests that soon escalated into armed resistance and then into large-scale fighting, which some UN experts characterize as a civil war.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.