Executed Myanmar prisoners deserved 'many death sentences', claims junta spokesman

Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy was sentenced to death in January for offences under anti-terrorism laws.

Published: 26th July 2022 05:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2022 05:35 PM   |  A+A-

Executed Myanmar prisoners

A Myanmar national living in Thailand holds the pictures of the executed political prisoners in Myanmar, as they protest outside Myanmar's embassy in Bangkok, on July 26, 2022. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

YANGON: Myanmar's junta lashed out Tuesday against international condemnation of the country's first use of capital punishment in decades, saying the four executed prisoners -- two of them prominent democracy fighters -- "deserved many death sentences."

The executions announced Monday sparked condemnation from around the globe, heightened fears that more will follow and prompted calls for sterner international measures against the already-isolated junta.

But the military authorities were defiant, with spokesman Zaw Min Tun insisting the men "were given the right to defend themselves according to court procedure".

"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," he said at a regular press briefing in the capital Naypyidaw.

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

The prisoners, who included a former lawmaker from ousted civilian 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.

'Extremely troubled'
Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) was sentenced to death in January for offences under anti-terrorism laws.

Democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu -- better known as "Jimmy" -- received the same sentence from the military tribunal.

The two other men were sentenced to death for killing a woman they alleged was an informer for the junta in Yangon.

The junta has sentenced dozens of anti-coup activists to death as part of its crackdown on dissent after seizing power last year, but Myanmar had not carried out an execution in decades.

After a chorus of international condemnation on Monday, including from the UN, the United States and European countries, there was fresh criticism of the junta on Tuesday.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc, which has led diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, said it was "extremely troubled and deeply saddened" by the executions.

READ HERE | UN court rejects Myanmar challenge to genocide case

In a statement issued by current chair Cambodia, it accused the junta of a "gross lack of will" to engage with ASEAN's efforts to facilitate dialogue between the military and its opponents.

In Bangkok, hundreds of people staged a noisy protest outside the Myanmar embassy.

Some held photos of Ko Jimmy and Phyo Zeya Thaw alongside Aung San Suu Kyi as they chanted "We want democracy."

And Malaysia’s foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah slammed the executions calling it a "crime against humanity".

He called for a review of the so-called five-point consensus agreed by Southeast Asian leaders last year aimed at defusing the political crisis in Myanmar following a coup.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp