Myanmar's government announced Monday it had carried out its first executions in nearly 50 years, hanging a former National League for Democracy lawmaker, a democracy activist and two men accused of violence after the country's takeover by the military last year.
The executions, detailed in the state-run Mirror Daily newspaper, were carried out despite worldwide pleas for clemency for the four political prisoners, including from United Nations experts and Cambodia, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The four were executed “in accordance with legal procedures” for directing and organizing "violent and inhuman accomplice acts of terrorist killings,” the newspaper reported. It did not say when the executions were carried out.
The military government issued a brief statement confirming the report while the prison where the men had been held and the prison department refused comment.
Aung Myo Min, human rights minister for the National Unity Government, a shadow civilian administration established outside Myanmar after the military seized power in February 2021, rejected the allegations the men were involved in violence.
“Punishing them with death is a way to rule the public through fear,” he told The Associated Press.
Among those executed was Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, also known as Maung Kyaw, who was convicted in January by a closed military court of offenses involving explosives, bombings and financing terrorism.
His wife, Thazin Nyunt Aung, told the AP she had not been informed his execution had been carried out. “I am still trying to confirm it myself,” she said.