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Protest: Military junta declares Martial law over killings in Myanmar

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Military junta has declared Martial law in some parts of Myanmar over the bloody killings of atleast 74 people on protest and unidentified persons set fire to several dozen Chinese-owned factories in the country.
The Martial law which was issued on Sunday after unfortunate incident, charged under many of the laws being used to prosecute peaceful protesters and journalists who will be tried by military courts in the areas under martial law.

Even those facing trial in civilian courts since the February 1 coup have legitimate concerns about judicial independence and fair trial proceedings under Myanmar’s junta, while those now facing trial in military tribunals can be certain of no justice. Martial Law Order specified that those convicted shall be sentenced to death, prison at hard labor for unlimited years, or the highest punishment designated for the crime in existing law which mean defendants face significantly highest penalties.

Atleast 11 townships across Yangon and Mandalay will be affected by the Martial law, as the ruling State Administration Council purportedly transferred all executive and judicial power to the regional military commanders of those cities. Under the Martial law, all tribunal decisions are “final,” meaning there is no right to appeal a conviction, sentence, or the process of a trial, while the only exception regards death penalty sentences.

The final word on those decisions lies with the military commander-in-chief, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, a man who has been sanctioned by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, and others for his involvement in serious human rights abuses.  Meanwhile, Military tribunals in Myanmar have a long and troubling history. Past trials were usually conducted behind closed doors, inside Yangon’s main prison, where the rules of evidence and procedure applicable in civilian courts did not apply.

Those on trial in military tribunals face almost certain conviction regardless of the validity of the charges against them, and the trials are held outside the scrutiny of the public or the international community. 







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