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Democracy veteran Ko Jimmy and former NLD MP Phyo Zayar Thaw sentenced to death

A junta court has handed death sentences to veteran pro-democracy activist Ko Jimmy and former National League for Democracy MP Phyo Zayar Thaw, military-controlled media said on Friday evening. 

Ko Jimmy, whose real name is Kyaw Min Yu, was arrested during a raid in Yangon in late October and Phyo Zayar Thaw was captured in November. 

Both activists were accused of leading and planning guerilla attacks against the junta’s forces and their allies.

Phyo Zayar Thaw has been named by the junta as the mastermind behind numerous attacks on coup regime targets in Yangon in recent months.

The men were convicted under sections 49a, 50i and 50j of the Counterterrorism Law, which outlaws activities related to explosives, bombings, and financing terrorism.

The junta accused Phyo Zayar Thaw, who is also a well-known hip-hop artist, of supporting terrorist groups and keeping stashes of guns, ammunition, grenades and explosives at two apartments in Yangon. 

The military court also accused him of having Zoom meetings with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), the National Unity Government (NUG), and its People’s Defence Force (PDF), all of which are labelled as terrorist groups by the junta.

The court said he supplied weapons to assassinate pro-junta targets 35 times, masterminded 11 attacks and was complicit in over 100 bomb attacks. 

He was also accused of raising money from abraod to fund “terrorist activity”. 

The ‘88 Generation veteran Ko Jimmy was accused of hiding weapons and ammunition at an apartment in Yangon and being an “advisor” in implementing “terrorist activities” as part of the CRPH, NUG, and the PDF. 

Ko Jimmy asked the NUG to buy a $100m 3D printer to make weapons, the junta’s Friday announcement said.

Both men had leadership positions during a series of attacks in Yangon known as Moon Light Operation, it added. 

Min Ko Naing, another ‘88 Generation veteran, said the sentencing today was aimed at diverting people’s attention from the news that oil giants Total and Chevron were exiting Myanmar. 

“That news was an encouraging response from the world… It was such a blow, financially and physically, for the military council,” Min Ko Naing told Myanmar Now.

He added that the military regime has realised it is going to lose the fight with anti-junta forces and will react by doing reckless things. 

“They may win a hill or a camp but will lose the ultimate war in the end. Our people will win,” he said.

The military council released no information about Ko Jimmy’s case after his arrest but on January 14 released a video of Phyo Zayar Thaw confessing to involvement in the attacks. 

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 8,716 people are being detained by the junta across the country as of Thursday. 

A total of 82 people, including 39 people who were convicted in absentia, have been sentenced to death by the junta, the group added. 

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