Blinken: Myanmar military executions 'reprehensible'

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday denounced as “reprehensible” the Myanmar military regime’s recent executions of pro-democracy activists and elected leaders.

In a statement, Blinken said the U.S. condemns “in the strongest terms” the executions of Ko Jimmy, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw over their “exercise of their fundamental freedoms.”

“These reprehensible acts of violence further exemplify the regime’s complete disregard for human rights and the rule of law,” Blinken said.  

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar similarly condemned the regime earlier on Monday for executing the activists for “exercising their fundamental freedoms.”

The executions were first reported by state-run Mirror Daily newspaper, which said that the four were killed for “violent and inhuman accomplice acts of terrorist killings,” according to The Associated Press.

The executions were the first carried out by Myanmar’s government in nearly 50 years.

Phyo Zeya Thaw was a former lawmaker who was convicted in January for offenses involving possession of explosives and terrorism, the AP reported.

Ko Jimmy was a former pro-democracy activist who was convicted of violating counterterrorism laws, according to the outlet. Meanwhile, Hla Myo Aung, and Aung Thura Zaw had been convicted of killing of woman in March 2021.

Myanmar’s military seized power in February 2021 after overthrowing the nation’s democratically elected leaders.

Blinken said that since then, the regime has “perpetuated violence against its own people, killing more than 2,100, displacing more than 700,000, and detaining thousands of innocent people, including members of civil society and journalists.”  

“The regime’s sham trials and these executions are blatant attempts to extinguish democracy; these actions will never suppress the spirit of the brave people of Burma,” Blinken said

“The United States joins the people of Burma in their pursuit of freedom and democracy and calls on the regime to respect the democratic aspirations of the people who have shown they do not want to live one more day under the tyranny of military rule,” he added.

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