Myanmar’s military regime sentenced seven men in Ayeyarwady region to death, Pyapon township residents told Radio Free Asia over the weekend. Pyapon District Court issued the sentences on Friday, ordering another seven men to spend up to 55 years in prison in the country’s southern delta.
The court found Wunna Tun, San Linn San, Kyaw San Oo, Thura Phyo, Tun Tun Oo and Aung Moe Myint guilty of murder. The junta accused them of killing two women who worked for Pyapon township’s administration department, as well as of being members of local People’s Defense Force, Black Dragon Force Pyapon.
On lesser charges, the district judge found Hein Thu Lwin, Win Myat Thein Zaw, Kaung Sithu, Kyaw Ko Ko, Zaw Myint Thu, Kyaw Thura and Ye Zaw Htet guilty under Counter-Terrorism Laws. Their charges included involvement in bombings and other terrorism-related activities. Their sentences ranged from five to 55 years in prison.
Authorities took the group to Pathein Prison in the region’s capital and are keeping them isolated, sources close to their families told RFA.
“Yesterday, 15 prisoners appeared in court. But one man was able to leave because his order wasn’t correct,” a person close to the court said, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. “Fourteen people were sentenced. The cases are the same. Then they were sent to Pathein Prison. They are being kept in solitary confinement.”
But their cases aren’t over yet, he added. Officials are still processing additional charges.
The group is one of the largest sentenced to death since the 2021 February coup began. A secret military court in Insein Prison gave seven student activists from Yangon’s Dagon University the death penalty on the same murder charge the Ayeyarwady men face.
RFA’s calls to Ayeyarwady region’s junta spokesman Maung Maung Than went unanswered.
Pyapon District Court also sentenced three men to death last month on accusations of murder as members of a People’s Defense Force. The judge issued the verdict to Kyaw Moe Lwin and Win Htay, both from Bogale township, as well as Maubin township’s Wai Yan Kyaw on Sept. 29.
Four residents from the Ayeyarwady region’s Bogale township, including Zaw Win Tun, Naing Wai Linn, Min Thu Aung and Pyae Sone Phyo, were given the death penalty on Sept. 4 for allegedly killing a local woman.
The regime has sentenced a total of 156 people to death since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.