April 23, 2019

IDFA and IFFR call for immediate release of Myanmar filmmaker and festival director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi

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.

Signed,

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 

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