The Military government in Myanmar executed four democracy activists on charges of involved in “terror acts”. The four charged activists are Kyaw Min Yu, also known as Ko Jimmy, former MP Phyo Zeya, and lesser known Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.
The execution has been a shock to international human rights organizations and the opposition in Myanmar since it is the first execution in the country since 1988. Tom Andrews, UN special reporter on human rights in Myanmar, condemned the executions. He called them “depraved,” and requested the international community to punish the military regime.
The National Unity Government, a collective of pro-democracy figures, former lawmakers, and representatives of armed ethnic groups, echoed the same and called on international organizations to safeguard human rights in Myanmar.
Families of the executed democracy activists got no prior information about the killings. Also, they haven’t seen the dead bodies either. Zayar Thaw’s mother devasted on hearing the news of her son’s death. Especially since a week ago she had met him. He was in good health and had requested his mother to give him some money.
Ko Jimmy and his wife, Nilar Thein, have a long association with pro-democracy activism. He was part of the 88 Generation Students Group, the student-led protest against the military junta in 1988, as well as the monks-led 2007 protest. Because of his part in these protests, he was jailed several times. He was again behind bars last year in October for hiding weapons and explosives at a house in Yangon and having links with the National Unity Government.
Phyo Zeya Thaw jailed last year in November for allegedly committing terrorist activities. He was an NLD (Aung San Suu Kyi’s party) MP and had a former career in hip-hop music. He was politically close to Aung San Suu Kyi.
The two lesser-known activists put to death for killing a spy who worked for the junta. The number of people arrested and killed by the military since the coup is staggering; reports say that 14,847 people arrested, while 2114 killed.