IDFA and IFFR call for immediate release of Myanmar filmmaker and festival director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi
By Orwa Nyrabia
We - filmmakers, film professionals, festivals, and organisations from around the world - are expressing our profound dismay at the recent detention of our fellow filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi and we are calling for his immediate release.
On 12 April 2019, filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was arrested by the Myanmar authorities after being sued by a military officer for “insulting and defaming the Army.” Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is a prominent filmmaker in Myanmar, and as such, an important voice in cinema in general. Additionally, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi is the co-founder of the Human Rights Human Dignity Film Festival in Yangon.
After publishing various Facebook posts expressing public concern towards the military-drafted 2008 Constitution, he was detained and charged under two violations, both carrying a maximum prison sentence of two years. Recently, he has been denied bail and is now awaiting his trial scheduled on 25 April.
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi’s physical health is currently very fragile, having been operated to treat liver cancer only three months ago.
We are gravely concerned for his health and fear for his life, should Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi be sentenced to imprisonment.
We therefore plead for compassion for his serious health condition, and call authorities in Myanmar for the immediate release of Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi and his right to bail on humanitarian grounds.
Orwa Nyrabia, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Bero Beyer, International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Simon Kilmurry, International Documentary Association, United States
Melanie Iredale, Sheffield Doc/Fest, United Kingdom
Keri Putnam, Sundance Institute, United States
Tabitha Jackson, Sundance Institute, United States
Karel Och, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic
Gediminas Andriukaitis, Inconvenient Films, Lithuania
Darya Bassel, Docudays UA, Ukraine
Don Edkins, STEPS, South Africa
Mario Friso, Festival des Libertés, Belgium
Abdoulaye Gaye, AfricanBamba Human Rights Film Festival, Senegal
Giulia Grassilli, Human Rights Nights, Italy
Ondrej Kamenicky, One World, Czech Republic
Ketil Magnussen, Human International Documentary Film Festival, Norway
Vincent Mercier, Festival International du Film des Droits de l'Homme, France
Maciej Nowicki, Watch Docs, Poland
Oksana Sarkisova, Verzio Film Festival, Hungary
Richard Warden, Document Human Rights Film Festival, United Kingdom