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Myanmar coup: UN says junta use death sentences to silence opposition
A senior United Nations official said that the Myanmar military has been using death sentences as a way to silence the opposition. The official added that since seizing power in February 2021, the junta has sentenced 130 people to death for opposing the regime.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said Friday last week that Myanmar’s junta has used death sentences to crack down and silence their opponents. Turk cited that on Wednesday, the junta sentenced at least seven students to death in a trial behind closed doors. Turk added that there are reports of as many as four youth activists who were also sentenced to death on Thursday.
Turk then called for a suspension of the death sentences and that the junta places a hold on the death penalty.
“The military continues to hold proceedings in secretive courts in violation of basic principles of fair trial and contrary to core judicial guarantees of independence and impartiality,” said Turk in a statement. Turk added that the junta had also shown contempt for regional and international peace efforts “by resorting to use death sentences as a political tool to crush opposition.”
Myanmar has been in a state of unrest since February 2021, when the generals seized power in a coup and overthrew the elected civilian government. Protests against the regime erupted since the coup in which the military responded with a brutal crackdown with as many as 2000 people killed and thousands of others detained.
On Monday, the UN Credentials Committee delayed a decision on who will represent Myanmar in the midst of concerns that the junta is deepening ties with Russia. The panel, made up of countries such as China, Russia, and the United States, convened on November 29 to consider who would represent Myanmar: The sitting ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed by ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, or a representative appointed by the junta.
Kyaw Moe Tun, who is backed by the shadow National Unity Government, made by members of the ousted government, voted in support of condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and in support of suspending Russia’s membership in the Human Rights Council.