Under Martial Law, Myanmar Military Commanders Empowered to Issue Death Penalty

By The Irrawaddy 16 March 2021

Yangon — Myanmar’s military governing body, the State Administrative Council (SAC), has threatened anti-regime protesters with the death penalty in townships under martial law.

The SAC initially declared martial law in Hlaing Tharyar and Shwepyithar townships in Yangon on Sunday following its violent crackdown, the deadliest day since the Feb. 1 coup. Martial law was imposed on South Dagon, North Dagon, Dagon Seikkan and North Okkalapa townships in Yangon and parts of Mandalay on Monday.

The announcement on state broadcaster MRTV late on Sunday said Yangon’s regional commander has been entrusted with administrative, judicial and military powers in the city.

Those who commit one of 23 “offenses” in those townships will be tried in military courts and face penalties ranging from death, indefinite jail terms with labor and the maximum possible punishments under existing legislation, according to the orders signed by the SAC secretary, Lieutenant-General Aung Lin Dwe.

The offenses include high treason, sedition, obstructing military personnel and civil servants performing their duties, instigation, incitement, spreading “false” news, possession of weapons, ties to unlawful associations, homicide, rape, robbery, corruption, drug abuse and vandalism.

Other offenses concern violations of the Immigration Act, Media Law, Printing and Publishing Act, Ward or Village-Tract Administration Law, Electronic Transactions Law and Counterterrorism Law.

Those sentenced to death and harsh penalties can only appeal to the SAC chairman and Yangon regional commander, the announcement said.

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