Myanmar junta execute four democracy activists: Report

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Myanmar’s military authorities have executed four democracy activists accused of helping carry out “terror acts,” state media reported on Monday, marking the first executions conducted in decades in the Southeast Asian country.

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The four were sentenced to death in January in a closed-doors trial, accused of helping militias to fight the army that seized power in a coup last year and unleashed a bloody crackdown on its opponents.

The planned executions had received international condemnation with two UN experts calling them a “vile attempt at instilling fear” among the people.

The executed men included democracy-figure 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 Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, lost their appeals in June.

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

The newspaper said the four had been charged under the counter-terrorism law and the penal code and the punishment has been conducted under prison procedures, without elaborating.

Executions in Myanmar have previously been carried out by hanging.

The Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP), an activist group, said the last judicial executions in Myanmar took place in the late 1980s.

A military spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. Thazin Nyunt Aung, the wife of Phyo Zeyar Thaw, said she had not be informed of her husband’s execution. Other relatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Myanmar has been in chaos since last year’s coup, with conflict spreading across the country after the army crushed mostly peaceful protests in cities.

The AAPP says more than 2,100 people have been killed by the security forces since the coup, a figure the junta says is exaggerated.

The true picture of the violence has become hard to assess since clashes have spread to more remote areas where ethnic minority insurgent groups are also fighting the military.

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