A History of Capital Punishment in Burma
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Sunday, May 26, 2024

A History of Capital Punishment in Burma

By Wai Moe Monday, December 22, 2003

(Page 2 of 2)

All penalties of over ten years’ imprisonment were changed to ten years, and he had already spent over ten years in prison. He remained in jail, watching, as his criminal cellblock mates were set free.

Another similar case shows the discrimination within the justice system. In 1989, a bomb exploded in a Thanlyin fuel factory. Military intelligence arrested several local student activists, including some senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD). All those arrested denied involvement in the factory explosion.

Later, military intelligence officers arrested a bomb expert from the KNU named Ko Ko Naing, and he confessed to the Thanlyin explosion. Under interrogation, he took full responsibility for the factory explosion and explicitly stated that the NLD members and student activists did not take part in the incident.

But the courts never withdrew the case. Four others received the death penalty, while the rest were sentenced to life imprisonment.

After being subjected to Burmese prisons’ unhealthy treatments, some of the victims of the explosion case developed mental illnesses that led to their death. Two of the long-term prisoners died only a few months after their release.

Than Zaw was one of the University of Rangoon students who was sentenced to death for the Thanlyin fuel factory explosion. His mother said, "When I heard about the 1997 amnesty, I hoped he would be released but this hope was destroyed by the regime’s exception for the political prisoners." She added, "Maybe I won’t see him ever again if he is not released in the next few years."

Wai Moe is a former student activist now living in exile.

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