The ruling junta in Myanmar has drawn international criticism following the execution of four political activists, including one former politician.
The four, including former lawmaker lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw, were convicted of engaging in terrorist activities following a closed-door trial that has been heavily criticized by rights groups for its lack of transparency.
The executions were carried out over the weekend, with family members of the condemned reportedly not notified in advance.
As the news broke, condemnation flooded in from around the world.
“Such reprehensible acts of violence and repression cannot be tolerated. We remain committed to the people of Burma and their efforts to restore Burma’s path to democracy,” tweeted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet spoke out against the executions, also calling on Myanmar to release the thousands that still remain in detention following the military coup in the country last year.
“I am dismayed that despite appeals from across the world, the military conducted these executions with no regard for human rights,” Bachelet said. “This cruel and regressive step is an extension of the military’s ongoing repressive campaign against its own people.”
Myanmar government spokesperson Zaw Min Tun stood firm in the face of criticism, insisting that the executions were carried out in accordance with the country’s law.
“We knew that there may be criticism when the death penalties were handed down and conducted in line with domestic law,” he told reporters. “However, we did it for reasons of domestic stability, for the rule of law and order, and security.”