Student Activists Arrested for Telling Jokes about the Military

Seven student activists were arrested in April for criticizing the military in their satirical performance during the Burmese New Year celebration. They are currently on trial while being detained in Insein Prison.


Kay Khaing Tun, Zayar Lwin, Paing Ye Thu, Di Yay, Su Yadanar Myint, Nyein Chan Soe and Pho Thar are members of Peacock Generation Thangyat group in Burma.


Thangyat is a type of slam poetry traditionally performed during the Burmese New Year holiday, and Thangyat groups usually highlight difficulties and the current situation of the country in a series of jokes. The Peacock Generation Thangyat group includes current and former members of the Student Union in Burma. Their satirical performance mostly included material about the country’s constitution and the military.


Before the Burmese New Year in April this year, the Yangon Regional Government demanded the Thangyat groups submit jokes and materials before their performances but the Peacock Generation Group and other student-led groups decided to defy that request.


They have been charged under the 66 (d) of the Telecommunication Law for defamation, and the 505 (a) of Burma’s Penal Code. 505 (a) criminalises any statements or rumours “with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or airman in the Army, Navy or Air Force to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such.”


They are being detained in Insein prison while their trial continues. If they are convicted, they face up to two years in jail with a fine.


Please take action and ask Aung San Suu Kyi to stop the prosecution of Khaing Tun, Zayar Lwin, Paing Ye Thu, Di Yay, Su Yadanar Myint, Nyein Chan Soe and Pho Thar, and to repeal all repressive laws.