ISSN 2330-717X

Myanmar: Filmmaker Jailed For Facebook Post – OpEd

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Last week, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was sentenced to 1 year in prison for criticising the military-drafted 2008 Constitution and the military’s role in politics.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is a prominent filmmaker and the founder of the Human Dignity Film Institute (HDFI), and the Human Rights, Human Dignity International Film Festival in Burma. He was arrested in April 2019 after the Burmese Army filed a complaint against him for “insulting and defaming the army” on his Facebook page.

He was charged under Section 66 (d) of the Telecommunication Law for defamation, and Section 505 (a) of Burma’s Penal Code. He remained in detention for more than four months before the court sentenced him to 1 year in prison on 29th August. The court has not yet decided whether to proceed with the 66(d) case.

Aung San Suu Kyi has the power to release Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, through a presidential amnesty, together with all remaining political prisoners in Burma, and the National League for Democracy (NLD) has the majority in Parliament to repeal all repressive laws in Burma. However, she has decided to keep those laws intact and keep political prisoners such as Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi in jail.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi has liver cancer and needs regular check ups and medicines. He has already spent more than four months in prison and has not received adequate healthcare. After his court hearing, he told reporters he did not know if he would receive treatment in prison for his liver cancer. He is currently serving his sentence in Insein prison, Rangoon.

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