Myanmar calls foreign outrage over activists' death sentence 'reckless and interfering'

Kyaw Min Yu (left) and Phyo Zeyar Thaw were sentenced to death by a military tribunal on charges of treason and terrorism. PHOTOS: MYANMAR’S MILITARY INFORMATION TEAM/AFP

YANGON (REUTERS) - Myanmar's ruling junta has condemned what it called "reckless and interfering" foreign statements about a rare execution order against two prominent opposition figures, accusing them of aiding terrorism by demanding their release.

The United Nations, the US State Department and France last week denounced the rejection of the appeals of a veteran activist and a former lawmaker, a decision that paves the way for the country's first executions in decades.

A state newspaper on Tuesday (June 7) carried a foreign ministry statement rejecting the international criticism, expressing "utmost indignation and strong protest" at France in particular for calling the Myanmar junta an illegitimate military regime, and accused it of meddling in its affairs.

"The ministry protests and objects in the strongest terms to the irresponsible and reckless statements and remarks," it said, adding the United States, France and UN remarks were "abetting terrorism" and neglecting what it called violent attacks against authorities.

Kyaw Min Yu, a veteran democracy activist, and Phyo Zeyar Thaw, a lawmaker for the former ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, were sentenced to death by a military tribunal in January on charges of treason and terrorism.

It is unclear when they will be executed or how they pled in their trials, which Myanmar has largely held behind closed doors.

Judicial activists say the junta is controlling the courts and denying its opponents fair trials.

The military has been condemned globally for its deadly crackdown on the protests and dissent that followed its February 2021 coup.

The United Nations has said its investigations show the military has committed mass killings and crimes against humanity. The junta has said it is seeking to restore peace and order.

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