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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 06 Health concerns for detained filmmaker Release jailed filmmaker in Myanmar
FI 081/19-2
Myanmar
Abgeschlossen am 2. Januar 2020

Release jailed filmmaker in Myanmar

AI-Index: ASA 16/1429/2019

Filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi has been convicted under 505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code and sentenced to one year in prison for a series of Facebook posts critical of the Myanmar military. The appeal against his conviction was rejected, and he faces up to two additional years in prison as another complaint against him remains pending. He is a prisoner of conscience who should be immediately and unconditionally released.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is a prominent filmmaker and founder of the Human Dignity Film Institute and the Human Rights, Human Dignity International Film Festival in Myanmar. He was arrested on 12 April 2019 after a Myanmar military official accused him of defaming the military in a series of Facebook posts critical of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution and the military’s role in politics.

He was initially accused of «online defamation» under Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunication Act after the military official filed his complaint. Several days later the same officer filed a second complaint under Section 505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, which criminalises anyone who «makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report,— (a) with intent to - cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty» and carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Ming Htin Ko Ko Gyi was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to one year in prison on 29 August 2019. His appeal against the conviction was immediately dismissed. Meanwhile, the complaint under 66(d) is still under investigation. Section 66(d) carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.

The Myanmar authorities continue to arrest and imprison activists and human rights defenders simply for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, which is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty International is concerned about a number of laws in Myanmar which arbitrarily restrict the right to freedom of expression, including Section 505 of the Penal Code and Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Act.

The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) state that the provision of health care for prisoners is a State responsibility and that all prisons shall ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases. Health-care services for detainees should be organized in a way that ensures continuity of treatment and care and prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery should be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.

The Myanmar military continues to wield significant economic and political power in the country. It operates independently of civilian oversight, effectively shielding members of the military from accountability. Under Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution, the military also has a guaranteed 25 per cent of seats in Parliament, giving it an effective veto over key Constitutional amendments. It also controls the three key ministries of Defence, Border Affairs, and Home Affairs.

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