The junta in Myanmar has rejected appeals by two prominent pro-democracy activists against their death sentences, paving the way for the country’s first executions since 1976.
Kyaw Min Yu, a veteran democracy activist, and Phyo Zayar Thaw, an MP for the former ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, were sentenced to death by a military tribunal in January on charges of treason and terrorism, according to a junta statement at the time.
The UN said it was “deeply troubled” by Friday’s announcement, which UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric described as a blatant human rights violation.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for charges to be dropped “against those arrested on charges related to the exercise of their fundamental freedoms and rights and for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Myanmar,” Mr Dujarric said.
It was unclear whether Kyaw Min Yu and Phyo Zayar Thaw had denied the charges against them.
The junta statement did not mention their pleas.
Their appeals against the sentences were rejected, a junta spokesperson said, though it was unclear by whom.
A recent ABC report says more than 100 people have been sentenced to death since a February 2021 coup ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s military government has received widespread condemnation abroad for ousting the popular NLD-led government, and for the brutal crackdown that it has since unleashed on critics, opposition members and activists.
Writing by Tony Okerafor