In camera, the military junta in Myanmar sentenced seven students to death. The convicts, who were arrested in April, are said to have been involved in a shooting at a bank. The United Nations warns that such machinations are intended to suppress the opposition in the country.
The military junta in Myanmar has sentenced at least seven students to death, according to the UN. The verdicts were handed down on Wednesday by a military court behind closed doors, said UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk. The junta uses death sentences as a "political tool to suppress the opposition". The military leadership still shows no willingness to end the violence in the country "and to create the conditions for a political dialogue".
According to media reports, the seven students from Yangon were arrested in April. They were accused of being involved in a shooting at a bank. "Putting the students to death is an act of vengeance by the military," said the student union at Yangon's Dagon University. According to the UN, there are now 139 prisoners sentenced to death in the country's prisons.
The UN is also investigating reports that four other youth activists were also sentenced to death on Thursday. Türk accused the junta of violating "the fundamental principles of a fair trial" with the trials before the military courts. Hearings sometimes last only a few minutes and detainees are often denied access to lawyers or their families.
Four prisoners were executed in Myanmar in July, including pro-democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu and former MP Phyo Zeya Thaw. These were the first state executions in the Southeast Asian country in more than three decades. The executions sparked outrage around the world.
The military overthrew the elected government in Myanmar in February 2021 and took power. Mass protests that followed were violently suppressed. According to local groups, almost 2,300 people have been killed in protests and clashes with the military. Thousands of government opponents were arrested. More than 11,000 of them are said to remain in detention.