London, UK — Burma Human Rights Network calls upon the Burmese Government to repeal the antiquated and anti-democratic laws that have resulted in the one-year prison sentence with hard labor against filmmaker U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for a Facebook post that was critical of the Military. According to the verdict, U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was found guilty of causing military personnel to “mutiny” or “otherwise disregard or fail in their duty.” The post in question criticized the role of the military in politics and Burma’s 2008 constitution which gives the military a mandatory 25% of Parliament and veto power.
“This verdict clearly shows Burma has no interest in democratic principles or the fundamental rights of their citizenship but rather functions intentionally to allow the military dominate the political system and punish anyone who is critical of their record of brutality against their own people. Burma, particularly the National League for Democracy, need to make significant efforts to reverse all oppressive laws which violate the fundamental rights of their citizens. In concert with that, it is vital that those who are imprisoned under such draconian laws be pardoned immediately,” said BHRN Executive Director Kyaw Win.
U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi recently had surgery for liver cancer. His lawyer, Robert San Aung, told the Irrawaddy Magazine, “U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is so sick that he only has a slim chance of surviving. The sentence is unfair and inhumane; it’s an inappropriate sentence for an ailing person.”
U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi’s criticisms of the Military are valid and vital to helping Burma become a more democratic country that respects the rights of its citizens. Burma must release him immediately out of respect for human rights and compassion for his condition. All laws which violate the fundamental rights of citizens in Burma must be repealed. The international community has an obligation to intervene with the tools at their disposal, including sanctions, to correct the wrongs of the military and Government of Burma. It is critical that steps are taken to ensure a safe place for citizens like U Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi whose contributions are essential to Burma’s progress and betterment as a democratic nation.
Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378