BANGKOK -- The Myanmar military will try criminal cases in areas of the country's largest city under martial law, including capital offenses, a state-owned newspaper reported Tuesday.
The junta fleshed out the martial law orders imposed this week on six townships in Yangon. The senior military commander in charge of the city has been handed full administrative and judicial powers.
Twenty-three criminal offenses will be tried before military tribunals. These include "high treason," sedition, violating media laws and spreading news the military deems "false."
Convictions cannot be appealed and can result in the death penalty or "unlimited years" of imprisonment with hard labor. Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing -- who leads the junta, formally known as State Administration Council -- gives the final go-ahead for death sentences. He and the Yangon commander have the power to reverse decisions and reduce sentences.
The military-declared state of emergency already grants him full control over all three branches of government. Unable to quell protests, the junta has now gone a step further by imposing martial law on large swaths of Yangon.
Well over 2,000 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup, including ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But these cases have been handled by the conventional court system. The tribunals are expected to lead to even more arbitrary decisions by the military government.
Members of Suu Kyi's ousted ruling party, the National League for Democracy, have banded together to form the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, using the Burmese term for "Union Parliament." The CRPH has drawn widespread support among the public.
Because the CRPH is essentially a shadow government, the military said the organization's activities amount to treason. The junta has warned that those showing support for the group will be prosecuted. This suggests that cases tied to the CRPH may go before the tribunals.
Violence against demonstrators has escalated. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported more than 180 crackdown-linked deaths through Monday.
On Sunday, the military and security forces opened fire in multiple locations, including a garment district in Yangon. Seventy-four people died across the nation, marking the bloodiest day of the unrest.
The estimated death toll stood at 38 on Monday before a profusion of fatalities came to light. Among those reported killed were three youths 18 years or younger, including a 15-year-old girl.
Monday saw at least 20 confirmed deaths nationwide, including in Yangon and the country's second-largest city of Mandalay. Demonstrators have so far mainly clashed with security personnel, but the military has apparently been deployed to the front lines in areas under martial law, stoking fears of further bloodshed.