GUWAHATI, Sept 07: Eminent Burmese filmmaker and rights activist Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, who was sentenced to one year in prison for criticizing the military-drafted 2008 Myanmar Constitution and the military’s role in politics, has drawn the attention of various international organizations.
Lately, London based Burma Campaign UK has taken a mission to impress Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the international face of Myanmar government for releasing the filmmaker and also repeal all repressive laws in southeast Asian country.
Mentionable is that Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, besides being a prominent filmmaker, is also the founder of Human Dignity Film Institute (HDFI) and Human Dignity International Film Festival in Burma. He was arrested last April after the Burmese Army filed a complaint against him for defaming the image of security forces on his facebook space. “He (Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi) 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 29 August. The court has not yet decided whether to proceed with the 66(d) case,” said a statement from Burma Campaign UK.
Earlier Progressive Voice, a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization based in Mae Sot of Thailand came out strongly against Nobel laureate Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy led Union government in NayPieTaw for oppressing the right to freedom of expression in Myanmar. Mentioning the concerned filmmaker, the forum in its latest weekly highlights (26 August to 1 September 2019) commented that in respect of criticisms against the government and security forces of Myanmar, the new quasi-democratic regime has shown intolerances. Meanwhile, in Kachin State, a military commander has filed a lawsuit against a Kachin ethnic (Baptist) leader for his comments made to the USA President about the persecution of Christians by the military, added the organization.
Similarly, the NLD government in Karenni State has charged six Karenni youths for calling the Karenni State chief minister a traitor over his attempt to place General Aung San’s statue in its capital Loikaw against the people’s will as they believe it ‘a symbol of the dominant role of Bamar majority, neglecting the leaders and history of Karenni people, added the weekly highlights.
Even though the Myanmar military is known for its decades-long oppression against the civilians and violations of the human rights of Myanmar people, especially ethnic and religious minorities, it was expected to get changed once the NLD government took charge after 2015 elections with the promise of democratic transitions.
“Though the first term of NLD government is slowly coming to an end, improved protection of the right to freedom of expression, alongside the right to freedom of assembly is yet to be seen. On the contrary, the military and government have increasingly become intolerant of any criticism against them”, asserted Progressive Voice.
Both the organizations mentioned that Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was suffering from liver cancer and needs regular checkups and medicines. He has already spent more than four months in prison and has not received adequate healthcare. Currently serving his sentence in Insein prison of Yangon, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi told reporters that he had no idea about his treatment in prison, but he would not bow down to the authority.