News Detail

01.12.2009

FIA calls for the release from Prison of Burmese actor U Maung Thura

During FIA’s last Executive Committee and EuroFIA meetings, our British affiliate Equity UK reminded the present members the disastrous state of freedom of speech in Burma and the alarming consequences it could engender for performers trying to make their living freely in this country. FIA had been deeply disturbed to learn of the 2008 imprisonment of Burmese comedian and activist U Maung Thura (better known by his stage name “Zarganar”) for criticising openly the Burmese authorities. It is a matter of great concern to performers worldwide that one of their number should be imprisoned for his outspoken positions and performances.

Mr Maung Thura has been jailed by the authorities in Burma several times in the last decade for his satirical performances targeting the regime. The latest detention came in the aftermath of the Nargis cyclone in Burma in May 2008, when he threw himself into the coordination of relief efforts and sought to raise awareness on the devastation wrought by the disaster. His computer was seized and footage on it used to convict him for violations of the Electronic Act among other things. He is facing a 45 year prison charge.

The member unions of FIA supportMr Maung Thura and call for his immediate release from prison. A letter of support has been sent in the name of FIA to the authorities in Burma, the UN and theBurmese embassies in London and Brussels. You can download the letter below.

Individual members of FIA may also like to add their voices to the calls for freedom for Zarganar. The letter below could be used as a model and adapted for sending to embassies of Burma in other countries and to the authorities in Burma itself.

You can also participate to Equity UK’s post card support campaign. This type of campaign has already proven to work in the past and you only need to ask one (or several) postcard(s) to Equity UK (info(at)equity.org.uk).

Letter of Protest against imprisonment of Zarganar