Burma Campaign UK today called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Peacock Generation members, and urged the NLD-led government to repeal repressive laws which are being used to keep human rights activists in jail.
On 30th October, Khaing Tun, Zayar Lwin, Paing Ye Thu, Di Yay, Su Yadanar Myint, Nyein Chan Soe and Pho Thar were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with hard labour for criticising the military in their satirical performance.
They were arrested in April during the Burmese New Year celebration for criticising and making fun of the military during their performance. The Peacock Generation Thangyat group includes current and former members of the Student Union in Burma.
After being detained for more than six months, they were sentenced to one year in prison with hard labour under Article 505 (a) of Burma’s Penal Code. Four of the five Peacock Generation members are also facing an additional two years’ imprisonment under the Telecommunication Law for defamation. They are currently serving their prison sentences in Insein prison.
“How can Burma ever be a country with genuine democracy while it is still using colonial era laws to oppress freedom of expression and jailing activists for speaking out, “said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s government can repeal these repressive laws and release political prisoners but it’s disappointing to see that she hasn’t taken any adequate steps to address the issue. These student activists were merely exercising their rights and they shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.”