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Iran Press TV

US condemns 'reprehensible' Myanmar executions

Iran Press TV

Monday, 25 July 2022 9:23 PM

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has condemned the Myanmar ruling military's executions of four prisoners as "reprehensible" and Senator Bob Menendez called on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on the regime.

Myanmar's junta announced on Monday it had executed four democracy activists accused of aiding "terror acts," who were sentenced to death in secretive trials in January and April.

The executions of a former lawmaker, prominent activist and two others, sparked widespread condemnation of the country's first executions in decades.

The activists were accused of helping a civilian resistance movement that has fought the military since last year's coup and bloody crackdown on nationwide demonstrations.

"These reprehensible acts of violence further exemplify the regime's complete disregard for human rights and the rule of law," Blinken said in a statement on Monday.

"The regime's sham trials and these executions are blatant attempts to extinguish democracy; these actions will never suppress the spirit of the brave people of Burma," Blinken said, using Myanmar's former name.

"The United States joins the people of Burma in their pursuit of freedom and democracy and calls on the regime to respect the democratic aspirations of the people who have shown they do not want to live one more day under the tyranny of military rule."

Myanmar has been gripped by turmoil since the military ousted the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup and detained her and several other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) Party on February 1, 2021.

The junta, which has declared a one-year emergency across Myanmar, claims that it seized power after it found fraud in elections held three months earlier that the NLD had won in a landslide.

Since then, Myanmar's military has been struggling to impose order. People have held numerous protests against the coup leaders in the country, demanding the release of Suu Kyi and the other detainees.

The United States has imposed a series of sanctions since the military takeover.

Blinken vowed that the United States would keep up the pressure.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Monday that "all options are on the table" for additional economic pressure against the regime.

He said that the junta's executions were a "direct rebuke" to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its current chair Cambodia.

"Arguably no country has the potential to influence the trajectory of Burma's next steps more so than the PRC," Price said of the People's Republic of China.

"There can be no business as usual with this regime. We urge all countries to ban the sale of military equipment to Burma (and) to refrain from lending the regime any degree of international credibility," Price said.

Meanwhile, Senator Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged President Joe Biden to slap sanctions on Myanmar's state-owned oil and gas company.

In recent months, Myanmar's army has faced more protests and strikes, which have paralyzed public and private sectors and a resurgence of conflicts in the borderlands.

More than 2,100 civilians have been killed since the coup, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has been monitoring the crackdown in Myanmar since the coup. And 14,870 people have been arrested.

This is while those rights groups warn that the actual death toll is likely to be much higher.

The UN said that the number of internally displaced people in post-coup Myanmar had topped one million for the first time.

The coup has sparked violence across Myanmar, with civilian militias being formed to fight back against the junta, which is accused of razing villages, mass extra-judicial killings, and airstrikes on civilians.

The UN special rapporteur further said that even before the coup last year, Myanmar's military had been infamous for committing atrocities against people, referring to the appalling 2017 genocidal attacks on the Rohingya Muslims.

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