Myanmar’s ruling military has executed four democracy activists accused of helping to carry out “terror acts,” it said on Monday, sparking widespread condemnation of the Southeast Asian nation’s first executions in decades.
Sentenced to death in closed-door trials in January and April, the men had been accused of helping a resistance movement to fight the army that seized power in a coup last year and unleashed a bloody crackdown on its opponents.
Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow administration outlawed by the junta, called for international action against the military.
“The global community must punish their cruelty,” Kyaw Zaw, the spokesman of the NUG president’s office, told Reuters in a text message.
Among those executed were democracy campaigner Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Jimmy, and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.
Kyaw Min Yu, 53, and Phyo Zeya Thaw, a 41-year-old ally of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, lost their appeals against the sentences in June. The two others executed were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.
“These executions amount to arbitrary deprivation of lives and are another example of Myanmar’s atrocious human rights record,” said Erwin Van Der Borght, regional director of rights group Amnesty International.
“The four men were convicted by a military court in highly secretive and deeply unfair trials.”
Thazin Nyunt Aung, the wife of Phyo Zeyar Thaw, said by telephone prison officials had not let the families retrieve the bodies.
The men had been held in the colonial-era Insein prison and a person with knowledge of the events said their families visited it last Friday.