Myanmar junta says executed prisoners deserved ‘many death sentences’

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The four prisoners Myanmar’s junta executed in the first cases of capital punishment in the country in decades “deserved many death sentences,” a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

“If we compare their sentence with other death penalty cases, they have committed crimes for which they should have been given death sentences many times,” junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said at a regular press briefing.

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The executions announced on Monday sparked widespread condemnation, heightened fears that more will follow and prompted calls for the international community to take sterner measures against the already-isolated junta.

The death penalty was given by the court after the defendants “were given the right to defend themselves according to court procedure,” Zaw Min Tun said.

“They harmed many innocent people. There were many big losses which could not be replaced.”

The prisoners, who included a former lawmaker from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, had been allowed to meet family members through video conferencing, he said, without providing details.

The junta had previously rejected criticism from the UN and western countries over the death sentences as “irresponsible and reckless.”

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