9 December 2022 — Seven students of Dagon University in Yangon, Myanmar, were sentenced to death in closed trials by a military tribunal on 30 November 2022, for their involvement in anti-regime protests. The students, namely Ko Khant Zin Win, Ko Thura Maung Maung, Ko Zaw Lin Naing, Ko Thiha Htet Zaw, Ko Hein Htet, Ko Thet Paing Oo and Ko Khant Linn Maung Maung were arrested in April 2022 and accused of involvement in the shooting of Global Treasure Bank Branch Manager, Saw Moe Win, who was a former military officer.
The execution was announced to take place on 7 December 2022 in the early morning, however until today there has been no update on whether the execution has taken place or not. The United Nations stated that Myanmar’s secretive military tribunals continue to violate principles of fair trial and contrary to core judicial guarantees of independence and impartiality, calling for the suspension of all executions and a return to a moratorium on death penalty.¹
The latest death sentences follow executions carried out in July earlier this year, of four prisoners that included former lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw and democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu — the first in approximately 30 years. Since the coup started on 1 February 2021, in total, 139 civilians were handed down capital punishment, blatantly ignoring broad international condemnation. The UN called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and others arbitrarily detained, and urged the country to reinstate its de-facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty, yet no responses were given by the Junta.²
Close to 1,700 detainees of the nearly 16,500 who have been arrested for opposing the military’s coup have been tried and convicted in secret by ad hoc tribunals where the hearings are announced at last minutes, barring detainees access to lawyers or their families.³ The tribunals disregard basic human rights protections and failed to uphold due process and fair trials. The latest developments go against the ASEAN 5-point consensus that the South-East Asia nations have just re-committed to uphold at the ASEAN summit in November.
With this statement, we the Coalition on Anti-Junta Regime call for:
- ASEAN as well as other international governmental entities to make immediate and urgent action to stop the execution of the mentioned seven students and to conduct fair trials as well as proper due process.
- The Government of Indonesia to be more prompt in handling Myanmar’s death penalty cases, since Indonesia will take part as the next Chair of ASEAN 2023.
The Coalition on Anti-Junta Regime
The Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
Initiatives for International Dialogue
Milk Tea Alliance Indonesia
Cross-Cultural Foundation Thailand
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Medical Action Group Philippines
Advocacy Forum Nepal
ASEAN Youth Forum
Milk Tea Alliance Friends of Myanmar
Milk Tea Alliance Calendar Team Progressive Voice
ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) Kenyas in Action
Abolition Now Tour RDC
¹ Myanmar: UN Human Rights Chief alarmed at death sentences by secretive military courts: https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/12/myanmar-un-human-rights-chief-alarmed-death-sentences-secretive-military
² Myanmar: Bachelet condemns executions, calls for release of all political prisoners: https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/07/myanmar-bachelet-condemns-executions-calls-release-all-political-prisoners