Executed Myanmar prisoners deserved ‘many death sentences’: junta spokesman

(FILES)(COMBO) This combination of file photos shows undated handout photographs released by Myanmar’s Military Information Team on January 21, 2022 of democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu, also known as ‘Jimmy’, who rose to prominence during Myanmar’s 1988 student uprising and was arrested in an overnight raid in October 2021 (L) and former lawmaker Maung Kyaw, who also goes by the name Phyo Zeya Thaw, who has been accused of orchestrating several attacks on regime forces. – Myanmar’s junta has executed four prisoners including a former lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, state media said on July 25, 2022, in the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades. (Photo by Handout / Myanmar’s Military Information Team / AFP)

Yangon, Myanmar | AFP

The four prisoners Myanmar’s junta executed in the first cases of capital punishment in the country in decades “deserved many death sentences”, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

“If we compare their sentence with other death penalty cases, they have committed crimes for which they should have been given death sentences many times,” junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said at a regular press briefing.

The executions announced on Monday sparked widespread condemnation, heightened fears that more will follow and prompted calls for the international community to take sterner measures against the already-isolated junta.

The death penalty was given by the court after the defendants “were given the right to defend themselves according to court procedure,” Zaw Min Tun said.

“They harmed many innocent people. There were many big losses which could not be replaced.”

The prisoners, who included a former lawmaker from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, had been allowed to meet family members through video conferencing, he said, without providing details.

The junta had previously rejected criticism from the UN and western countries over the death sentences as “irresponsible and reckless”