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Myanmar junta kills 4 democracy activists in first executions in decades

Myanmar's military junta has executed four democracy activists, including a former lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, state media announced Monday following a trial condemned by the United Nations and rights groups.

Why it matters: The killings of former National League for Democracy lawmaker Phyo Zayar Thaw, pro-democracy leader Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, and two other activists mark the first judicial executions in Myanmar since 1988, according to the UN.

The big picture: The two democracy leaders and activists Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw were among 114 people sentenced to death since the military seized power in a coup last year, according to Human Rights Watch.

  • "A military tribunal sentenced Ko Jimmy and Phyo Zeya Thaw to death on January 21 under Myanmar’s overbroad Counterterrorism Law of 2014," per a statement from the rights group. "Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw were convicted in April 2021 for allegedly killing a military informant."
  • The closed trials "fell far short of international standards," HRW notes.

For the record: Suu Kyi has been sentenced in military court to a total of 11 years in prison for a series of offenses following her detention after the Feb. 1, 2021, coup.

  • The 77-year-old Nobel laureate faces several other cases involving alleged corruption and violating the country's official secrets act, which could see her imprisoned for the rest of her life. She denies any wrongdoing.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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