The men whose fight cost them their lives
Weeks before Myanmar executed four democracy activists, the BBC spoke to their family and friends."I love looking at the stars. He knows it very well. At that moment, I knew the sky was the only way for us to communicate," says Thazin Nyunt Aung, recalling the night of 3 June when she found out that the military had said her fiance Phyo Zeya Thaw's execution would go ahead. He had been sentenced in January.
© Provided by Al Jazeera A Japanese government spokesman has confirmed the detention of a Japanese man in Myanmar [File: AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo]
A Japanese government spokesman has confirmed the detention of a Japanese man in Myanmar, with the government calling for his release as soon as possible.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told a news conference on Monday that a Japanese man in his 20s had been detained after filming a demonstration on July 30.
Kihara said the Japanese embassy in Myanmar has been pressing the ruling State Administration Council for the man’s release.
Kihara did not name the detainee, but Japanese media reports identified him as documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota.
Australia 'appalled' by Myanmar executions, Penny Wong offers condolences to families still without answers
Foreign Minister Penny Wong says Australia opposes the death penalty, calling on the junta to release unjustly detained prisoners and end violence in the country.Sentenced to death in secretive trials in January and April, the four men were accused of helping a civilian resistance movement which has fought the military since last year's coup and bloody crackdown on nationwide protests.
Kubota has reported for outlets including Al Jazeera and VICE Japan, focusing on ethnic conflict and refugee issues, according to his personal website.
At least 135 journalists have been detained in Myanmar since the coup, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Kubota would be the fifth foreign journalist to be detained, following US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, and Robert Bociaga of Poland and Yuki Kitazumi of Japan. All four were eventually expelled from the country.
Myanmar has been embroiled in chaos since a military coup in February 2021 deposed the democratically-elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Violence has spread across the country since Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s military administration crushed mostly peaceful protests in cities.
Japan is among a number of countries that have criticised the coup and its aftermath, most recently condemning the execution of four anti-coup activists last month.
Myanmar state media on Monday reported that Min Aung Hlaing had ordered a state of emergency in the country to be extended by six months, citing the need to strengthen the “genuine and disciplined multi-party democratic system”.
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Hun Sen had some harsh things to say about the military regime's executions, but his own record of repression is at odds with the censure.The executions went ahead, Hun Sen said last week, “despite the appeals from me and others for the death sentences to be reconsidered for the sake of political dialogue, peace and reconciliation”.