The international community has unilaterally condemned the July 22nd executions of 4 Burmese political prisoners at the hands of the military junta which took power in a coup in 2020. The United States, has led this international effort by issuing strong objections via the State Department to protest the killing and threatening grave consequences if further killings were carried out. The executions were apparently carried out via hanging.
Among the four executed was Phyo Zeya Thaw, a 41-year-old former lawmaker from Suu Kyi’s party, and Kyaw Min Yu, a 53-year-old democracy activist better known as Ko Jimmy. All were tried, convicted and sentenced by a military tribunal with no possibility of appeal. Myanmar’s government spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, firmly rejected the criticism, saying the executions were carried out in line with the country’s law and not for “personal” reasons. His department also told press that the family members of the convicted were allowed to communicate with them before their executions. However, access to the bodies of the victims has been denied to the families.
Besides international condemnation, several dozen of the nearly 40 militant groups currently fighting the junta forces issued statements calling for fighters to join their cause and reject all peace proposals with the military, this includes the Arrakan People Army, Bamar People’s Liberation Army, and the National League of Defense, which held power until the 2021 coup. . Myanmar has been in a constant state of civil war since the 1940’s when the Japanese occupation ended. However, relative period of peace, especially under Suu Kyi in the late 2010’s. However, the military seized power due to political tides shifting in which their leaders sensed their control over the legislative body was slipping, especially under the popular president.
Now information is coming out that National League for Democracy member Ko Hla Htoo, has died under interrogation by junta forces in the last 24 hours after being abducted on Saturday night. Information has also come to light that junta forces have executed 3 more political prisoners in Insein Prison, Yangon and plans to execute 41 more political prisoners currently in custody. This has been reported by local Burmese media in Yangon which opposes the junta government on social media.
Protests are ongoing at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok as fellow ASEAN nations begin to denounce their estranged neighbor. The People’s Republic of China has still not issued a statement on the killings. Since the PRC is the primary supplier of arms and training to junta military, it i unclear if they will release a statement which aligns with the international community.