Myanmar military sentences 19 civilians to death for killing army officer

The Myanmar military sentenced nineteen people to death for killing an associate of an army captain, the military-owned Myawaddy TV station said on Friday, the first such sentences announced in public since a February 1 coup and crackdown on protesters.

The report said the killing took place on March 27 – Myanmar Armed Forces Day – in the North Okkalapa district of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city. State media reported that 17 people are still at large.

Martial law has been declared in the district, allowing courts martial to pronounce sentences. The defendants cannot appeal the verdict.

The military rulers who overthrew an elected government said on Friday the protest campaign against its rule was dwindling because people wanted peace, and that it would hold elections within two years, the first timeframe given for a return to democracy.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group has said 614 people, including 48 children, had been killed by security forces since the coup. More than 2,800 were in detention, it said.

READ: Myanmar military claims protests dwindling as deaths surpass 600-mark