Four Activists Executed In Myanmar

(FILES)(COMBO) This combination of file photos shows undated handout photographs released by Myanmar's Military Information Team on January 21, 2022 of democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu, also known as 'Jimmy', who rose to prominence during Myanmar's 1988 student uprising and was arrested in an overnight raid in October 2021 (L) and former lawmaker Maung Kyaw, who also goes by the name Phyo Zeya Thaw, who has been accused of orchestrating several attacks on regime forces. - Myanmar's junta has executed four prisoners including a former lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi's party, state media said on July 25, 2022, in the country's first use of capital punishment in decades. (Photo by Handout / Myanmar’s Military Information Team / AFP) / -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/Myanmar’s Military Information Team" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Four democracy activists have been executed by Myanmar’s military in what is believed to be the first use of capital punishment in decades. 

The four – including activist Ko Jimmy and lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw – were accused of committing “terror acts”. 

They were sentenced to death in a closed-door trial that rights groups criticised as being unjust.

Family members of the deceased gathered at Insein prison on Monday desperate for information on their loved ones.

The mother of Zayar Thaw says she was not told when exactly her son would be executed, adding that she was unable to make proper traditional funeral plans as a result. 

“When we met on Zoom last Friday, my son was healthy and smiling. He asked me to send his reading glasses, dictionary and some money to use in prison, so I brought those things to the prison today,” Khin Win Tint told the BBC’s Burmese Service. “That’s why I didn’t think they would kill him. I didn’t believe it.”

Meanwhile, the sister of Ko Jimmy – whose real name is Kyaw Min Yu – had earlier said they were yet to receive the bodies. 

The families have all submitted applications for information on the executions.

State news outlet Global News Light of Myanmar said the four men were executed because they “gave directives, made arrangements and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts”. 

It said they had been charged under the counter terrorism laws, but did not say when or how they were executed. 

The executions are the first since 1988, according to the United Nations. Previous executions in Myanmar have been by hanging.

In 2021, the country’s military seized power, an event which triggered widespread demonstrations, prompting a military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, activists and journalists.