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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 06 Health concerns for detained filmmaker
UA 081/19
Abgeschlossen am 18. Juli 2019

Health concerns for detained filmmaker

AI-Index: ASA 16/0478/2019

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, a prominent filmmaker, has been detained since 12 April 2019 and is facing charges in connection with a series of social media posts in which he criticised Myanmar’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution. He has serious health problems and is in urgent need of specialized medical treatment; however, his requests for bail have been denied. If formally charged and convicted, he faces up to four years in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience who should be immediately and unconditionally released.


Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is a prominent filmmaker and founder of 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’s role in politics.

He was initially accused of «online defamation» under Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunication Act after a military official filed a complaint against him. Several days later the same officer filed a second complaint under Section 505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code. The provision prohibits the circulation of statements and reports with the intent to cause officers or soldiers in the Myanmar Armed Forces to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in their duties, and carries a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison. Section 505(a) is a «non-bailable» offence, and the decision to grant bail rests with a judge; however, to date, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi’s requests for bail on humanitarian grounds have been denied. The 505(a) case is being heard by the Insein Township Court in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city. 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 (UDHR). Amnesty International is concerned about a number of laws in Myanmar which 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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