Urgent Call to Action
Kyaw Min Yu: Author and Political Activist in Myanmar
Myanmar’s military government recently confirmed a death sentence imposed on author and activist Kyaw Min Yu under the country’s Counter-Terrorism law.
Kyaw Min Yu, also known as Ko Jimmy, has been repeatedly targeted for his pro-democracy activism. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he criticized the military coup in social media posts in February 2021. He sustained serious injuries on October 24, 2021 while being arrested during a raid on a housing complex in North Dagon Township, Yangon.
In January 2022 Ko Jimmy and former National League of Democracy lawmaker Phyo Zayar Thaw were sentenced to death, according to a statement by Myanmar’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services. The junta charged them with involvement “in terrorist acts such as explosion attacks, killing of civilians as informants.” The sentences were handed down following secretive trials held in a military court. All appeals against the verdicts have been denied.
Myanmar is the third-worst jailer of writers and public intellectuals according to PEN’s 2021 Freedom to Write Index. At least 24 writers have been imprisoned or placed on conditional release for peaceful dissent.
Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, has described the decision to proceed with the executions as a “blatant violation [of the] right to life, liberty and security of person, as per Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
There have been no judicial executions in Myanmar since 1988 and if the hanging of Kyaw Min Yu proceeds it will mark a dangerous escalation in the use of state-sanctioned violence to suppress peaceful dissent and freedom of expression.
We ask Advocates to send a monthly letter to Kyaw Min Yu for at least one year. Occasionally letters are sent to a writer’s family, or legal representatives. The goal is to provide moral support; to assure the writer that he has not been forgotten.
Please write directly to Kyaw Min Yu at:
Appeal letters may also be sent to:
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services
Yaza Htarni Road, Zeyatheiddhi Ward
Photo courtesy of PEN International