For months now, members of the Myanmar thangyat troupe Daung Doh Myo Sat (Peacock Generation) have been imprisoned in Insein Prison for a performance in which they donned military dress. The imprisoned artists are Ko Zeyar Lwin, Ko Paing Ye Thu, Ma Kay Khine Tun, Ko Phoe Thar and Ko Paing Phyo Min.
This is one of a number of incidents whereby Myanmar authorities have utilised the non-parole specification of Article 505(a) in collaboration with the harsh incarceration period of section 66(d) to arbitrarily arrest and detain artists in an effort to restrict non-violent artistic protest and peaceful criticism of the government and military regime.
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Mayangone Township Court,
I, along with the undersigned artists and artistic freedom defenders, call on the Myanmar authorities to immediately release all imprisoned members of the thangyat troupe Daung Doh Myo Sat (Peacock Generation). This includes: Ko Zeyar Lwin, Ko Paing Ye Thu, Ma Kay Khine Tun, Ko Phoe Thar and Ko Paing Phyo Min.
The artists have been arrested and imprisoned for performing in military costumes – deemed to ‘defame’ the military. I acknowledge that poets play a crucial political role in Myanmar by highlighting the tensions felt within the regime, and these arbitrary detentions are an attempt to silence any criticism of authorial powers.
I ask that you and other authorities acknowledge that this sentencing would not meet the test of necessity, proportionality or legality of international human rights standards, especially those guaranteed under Article 19 of the ICCPR and as a result, release the poets unconditionally.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Sincerely,