At least 714 people have been killed in security forces’ brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters since the Feb.1 military takeover in Myanmar, according to the latest figures by a rights watchdog.
In a daily briefing issued late Tuesday, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said 3,054 people are currently under detention, 66 of them have been convicted, and arrest warrants have been issued for at least 717 others.
The group accused the military of trying to foment religious discord as part of its strategy.
According to the report, a muezzin or a Muslim who calls to prayer, was found dead by hanging at a mosque in Tamwe township, Yangon region, with his entire body and hands tied on back.
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. It is a fundamental human right,” the group stressed.
Meanwhile, local media reported that soldiers appalled by Myanmar junta’s brutal treatment of civilians are reluctant to leave the military because they fear for their families’ safety.
Many soldiers would be willing to disobey the dictatorship if their families were not effectively held hostage by the junta, according to Myanmar Now.
However, it said that a number of military officers have already defected to avoid serving under the regime.
The news outlet also reported that in the past month, four soldiers, including a captain from Light Infantry Division 77, which carried out crackdown in Yangon, joined the Civil Disobedience Movement.
“Others have also deserted and are now on the run,” it added.
On Feb. 1, Myanmar’s military deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government. In reaction to the coup, civilian groups across the country launched a civil disobedience campaign, besides marches and sit-in protests.