2022 – Appeals for help as Myanmar awaits high-profile executions by Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Kyaw Min Yu (second from right), released from Tongi prison, and his wife Nilar Thein (fourth from right), released from Thar Yar Wadi prison, hold their daughter as they meet on April 13, 2012. Jimmy and Nilar are


(Reuters) – The wife of pro-democracy figure Kyaw Min Yew, who was sentenced to death by order of Myanmar’s ruling generals, said that when her husband dies, he will take with him the beliefs he nurtured his lifelong fight against dictatorship.

Kyaw Min Yew, better known as Jimmy, and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw are said to be the first to be executed in a court in Myanmar since 1988.

They were sentenced to death in January for treason and terrorism in a closed trial. They have been accused of helping militias fight the army that seized power last year and launched a bloody crackdown on its opponents.

The military has not said when they will be hanged, but there is much speculation in Myanmar that executions are imminent.

The planned executions were met with strong condemnation from abroad, calling them a “vicious attempt to strike terror into the hearts of the population” by two United Nations experts.

Kyaw Min Yew’s wife, Nilar Thein, said her husband, who was a political prisoner for 18 years under Myanmar’s last military dictatorship, is setting an example for his refusal to cooperate with his kidnappers.

“He will not trade his political beliefs for anything. He will continue to stick to his beliefs,” Nilar Thein, who is in hiding, told Reuters by phone.

“Ko Jimmy will continue to live in our hearts.”

Kyaw Min Yew, 53, and Phew Zia Tho, an ally of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, lost their appeals earlier this month.

It was not clear how they defended at their trial, nor the extent of their alleged involvement in the resistance movement, which is waging what it calls a “popular defense war” against the military council.

When asked if Kyaw Min Yu was involved, his wife said she would not support the military’s portrayal of him, but said the entire country was involved in a rebellion against the “terrorist actions” of the generals.

“systematic attack”

Many foreign governments, including the United States and France, and human rights groups have strongly criticized the planned executions.

Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on human rights on the situation in Myanmar, and Maurice Tidbal Baines, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions, said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said it has documented 114 people sentenced to death in so-called secret “brief sentences” courts for cracking down on dissent since the February 2021 coup in Myanmar.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, president of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), wrote a letter to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing this month calling for executions not to be carried out, expressing deep concern among Myanmar’s neighbors.

The military council indicated that it would not back down, describing Western criticism as “reckless and disturbing.”[nL4N2XU0NG[nL4N2XU0NG[nL4N2XU0NG[nL4N2XU0NG][nL4N2XU0NG[nL4N2XU0NG[nL4N2XU0NG[nL4N2XU0NG

On Thursday, his spokesman said the verdict was reasonable.

“Necessary measures must be taken at the necessary moments,” Zhao Min Tun told a news conference.

Phew Zia Tho’s wife said the two men were targeted because of their status in a youth movement that organized months of anti-coup demonstrations last year. She said the decision to resume the executions was a test of international support for the opposition and appealed for foreign intervention.

“The military council is trying to kill the revolution,” Thazin Nyunt told Ong Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.

We fought this revolution with the mindset that we have nothing but ourselves. Now we’re starting to wonder if the world is with us or not.”

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