Myanmar junta tribunal sentences 7 youths to death in Yangon

Myanmar’s junta condemned seven youths to death this week in the Yangon region after a secret military tribunal found them guilty of murder, a junta newspaper reported.

The seven, all from all from Hlaingtharyar township in the country’s largest city Yangon Region, were ruled guilty of taking part in the March 6 murder of a ward official suspected of being a police informer and sentenced to death on Wednesday under Section 54 of the Anti-Terrorism Law.

As of March 11, military tribunals in the Yangon region have sentenced more than 150 people to death or life imprisonment, RFA reporting has revealed. No executions have been reported by the military regime that overthrew Myanmar’s elected government on Feb. 1, 2021.

The seven were identified as Ye Min Naing, Soe Moe, Thant Zin, Daewa, San Shay, Athay Lay and Aye Aye Min.

Another youth, Htet Myat Naing from Yangon’s North Dagon township, was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison under Section 50(j) of the Anti-Terrorism Law for having links to and collecting money for terrorist organizations.

An underground youth activist in Yangon said the military is imposing harsh punishments on young people to discourage them from participating in resistance movements against the junta, the junta newspaper said.

"The deliberate arrests of young people and such harsh sentences are attempts to intimidate the youth not to be involved in the revolution. No matter what they do, young people are already determined to march on with this,” he told RFA.

Lawyers have argued that the sentences imposed by military tribunals handing down highest sentences on the youth are unjust and punishable.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Zaw Min Tun said the government was not targeting young people but was prosecuting violators of the law.

According to Thai-based rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma, a total of 10,707 people were arrested and 1,072 of them were imprisoned between Feb. 1, 2021 and May 19, 2022, and 72 have been sentenced to death, including 2 children. And another 41 have been sentenced to death in absentia.

Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written by Paul Eckert.