The death penalty for activists and key business departments continues to haunt Myanmar

Two political activists in Myanmar have been sentenced to death by the country’s military rulers who alleged the activists were involved in terrorism. As the sentences come, some large companies, including Total Energy and Chevron, have announced plans to exit the country.

According to the Associated Press, an army television station, Mywadi TV, reported on Friday that Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, and Phyo Zair Thaw, better known as Maung Kyaw, were killed in Myanmar. He was convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Act. and financing of terrorism.

Trial details were not available since the proceedings took place in a closed military court, the AP reported. Two activists have been detained since their arrests, with no ability to comment on the allegations.

Kyaw Min Yoo is one of the leaders of the 88th Generation student group, part of a previous popular uprising that failed to remove a former military government from power, according to the AP. Phyo Zayer Thaw is a former legislator of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

The AP said modern Myanmar rarely carries the death penalty.

Two political activists in Myanmar have been sentenced to death by the country’s military rulers as some big companies announced plans to exit the country amid a fall in the rule of law. In this photo, protesters hold a banner as they take part in a demonstration against the recent military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on December 5, 2021.
STR/AFP via Getty Images

Also on Friday, TotalEnergies and Chevron said they would begin exiting an offshore natural gas field in Myanmar, the new York Times Reported.

The companies cited the worsening situation in the country since civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown after a military coup nearly a year ago, according to CNN.

The two companies, along with state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production, have faced pressure over their roles in operating the country’s offshore Yadana gas field, according to the AP.

“While our company believes that its presence in a country allows it to promote its values, which include outside its direct area of ​​operation, in terms of status, human rights and more generally the rule of law, which Myanmar has been deteriorating since then. The February 2021 coup has prompted us to re-evaluate the situation and no longer allow TotalEnergies to make a substantial positive contribution to the country,” TotalEnergies said in a statement.

TotalEnergies said its return would happen within six months, but Chevron said in a statement, giving no time frame. newsweek He “reviewed our interest in the Yadna Natural Gas Project to enable a planned and orderly transition out of the country.”

“As a non-operator with a minority interest in the project, our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of employees, safe operation and the supply of much needed energy to the people of Myanmar and Thailand.”

According to the AP, about 50 percent of Myanmar’s foreign exchange comes from natural gas revenue.

Last week, data showed that US companies continued to buy teak wood from Myanmar, as recently as last month, newsweek Reported. At least 82 shipments of teak were reported between February 1 and November 30, 2021.

It is estimated that around 1,500 people have been killed and more than 11,000 arrested for alleged political crimes since the military seized power in February 2021, according to the AP.

UPDATE 01/21 9:45 PM: This story was updated to include Chevron’s statement.

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