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The execution of four democracy activists accused of aiding "terror acts" by the Myanmar's ruling military has sparked widespread condemnation of the country's first executions in decades. Human Rights Watch has described it an act of utter cruelty. Several member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) have condemned the act.

Myanmar’s military junta on Sunday reported the execution of four men in the country’s first death sentences carried out in over 30 years. The activists were identified as Phyo Zeya Thaw, 41; Kyaw Min Yu, known as “Ko Jimmy,” 53; Hla Myo Aung; and Aung Thura Zaw. According to reports,  all of whom were convicted after closed trials that fell far short of international standards. A military tribunal sentenced Ko Jimmy and Phyo Zeya Thaw to death on January 21 under Myanmar’s overbroad Counterterrorism Law of 2014. Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw were convicted in April 2021 for allegedly killing a military informant.

Elaine Pearson, acting Asia director at Human Rights Watch saidthese executions, including of activist Ko Jimmy and opposition lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw, followed grossly unjust and politically motivated military trials. This horrific news was compounded by the junta’s failure to notify the men’s families, who learned about the executions through the junta’s media reports.

“The junta’s barbarity and callous disregard for human life aims to chill the anti-coup protest movement. European Union member states, the United States, and other governments should show the junta that there will be a reckoning for its crimes. They should demand immediate measures, including the release of all political prisoners, and let the junta know the atrocities it commits have consequences.”