A military court convicted those convicted of burglary and murder. Two of them were arrested in northern Eucalapa, in the eastern Yangon region. The area is in a state of emergency, which means that anyone caught there will automatically be brought to trial by a military court. The other 17 were not present at the trial because they were still on the run.
Although the death penalty is permitted in Myanmar, the last time anyone was executed was over 30 years ago. “It appears that the military council is ready to go back to the time when Myanmar imposed the death penalty on people,” said Phil Robertson of the Asian branch of Human Rights Watch. Because the trial is taking place in a military court, the suspects cannot appeal the verdict.
The purpose of death sentences
According to Robertson, the goal of the military is to deter protesters from taking to the streets and forcing them to return to work. Due to the national boycott, Myanmar’s economy is currently largely flat.
Since the February 1 coup in which government leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested, things have been in turmoil in Myanmar. The security forces have reportedly killed around 600 protesters so far. In Pago Village, 65 kilometers from Yangon City, more than eighty protesters were killed on Friday alone. Residents were fleeing en masse to neighboring villages.
The UN special envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, arrived in neighboring Thailand last week, hoping to enter Myanmar and negotiate with the army to get out of the crisis. So far it has not been accepted by the junta.
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