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Myanmar junta executes four democracy activists

 Kyaw Min Yu (L) Phyo Zeya Thaw (R)

Myanmar's military junta execution of four democracy activists,has drawn widespread condemnation, marking the country's first execution in decades.

The four activists were sentenceto death in secretive trials held in Januaray and April, the men were accused of helping a civilian resistance movement that has fought the military since last years coup and bloody crackdown on nationwide protests. 

Among those executed were democracy campaigner Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Jimmy, and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, an ally of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The two others executed were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.

The shadow National Unity Government (NUG), which is leading efforts to undermine the junta's attempts to rule Myanmar, said it was time for an international response.

Myanmar has been in chaos since the coup, with the military, which has ruled the former British colony for five of the past six decades, engaged in battles on multiple fronts with newly formed militia groups.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called the executions a "cruel and regressive step" that would "only deepen its entanglement in the crisis it has itself created."

The United States on Monday said it would work with regional allies to hold the military accountable and called for a cessation of violence and release of political detainees.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the Burmese military regime's heinous execution of pro-democracy activists and elected leaders," a White House National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reiterated Washington's commitment "to the people of Burma in their pursit of freedom and democracy". 

Read more at Reuters 

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