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Myanmar Junta Calls Return of Executions 'Required Action'

FILE - Myanmar's military junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun speaks during the information ministry's press conference in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 23, 2021.

Myanmar ruling military on Thursday defended a planned execution of two prominent democracy figures as lawful and required, defying international criticism for resuming capital punishment after a three-decade hiatus.

The United Nations, France, the United States and international human rights groups have urged the junta not to follow through with the execution of activist Kyaw Min Yu and former lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw, who lost appeals against a terrorism conviction. Read full story

They were found guilty of providing weapons and helping to organize attacks by resistance groups on state targets. It is unclear when they will be executed or how they pled in their trials, which Myanmar has largely held behind closed doors.

Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun said there were many countries using the death penalty.

"At least 50 innocent civilian, excluding security forces, died because of them. How can you say this is not justice?," Zaw Min Tun told a televised news conference.

"Required actions are needed to be done in the required moments."

Myanmar has been in turmoil since a coup early least year that ended a decade of tentative democracy that was introduced after five decades of army rule.

The military has defied foreign outrage over the executions, which United Nations experts last week said were decided without due process. Read full story

"These death sentences, handed down by an illegitimate court of an illegitimate junta, are a vile attempt at instilling fear amongst the people of Myanmar," the experts said.