11 July 2024

On November 30th, seven Dagon University students were sentenced to death by Myanmar’s administration.

They were arrested in connection with the assassination of retired Lt. Colonel Saw Moe Win.

“At first nobody but the immediate family knew but, inevitably, news broke and, soon enough, the rumours that they were to be executed as soon as December 7th began. That isn’t true. Even for high-priority cases, there are processes that take a while,” said a staff member at Yangon’s infamous Insein prison, who wishes to remain anonymous.

According to local news media, the parents of the 20+yearolds have submitted at least three appeals, but to no avail.

“I would prefer life in prison over the death sentence for my son,” said a parent. 

“Unfortunately, it is unlikely that their sentences will be changed to anything more lenient, no matter what the parents do. It is possible to change it under the law, but not in the current times, not for the current administration,” said an attorney with at least 20 years of experience.

Student unions, anti-military dictatorship groups and international organisations have all asked Myanmar’s administration to stop the executions of the seven students and others.

“The only hope right now is that they (the military) will usesome of those they have sent to death row as bargaining chipsand not cases to be made an example of. As for the students, their guilt in connection with the killing of the retired military officer is by no means ascertained

You can’t know if you aren’t in their circles, but people from military families or those with military ties see them as an opportunity to make an example. They weren’t happy when some people involved in protests were released previously, as a part of a nationwide amnesty,” said the lawyer.