Student Activists Jailed for Telling Jokes about the Military

On 30th October 2019, five student activists were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with hard labour for criticising the military in their satirical performance.

Kay Khaing Tun, Zayar Lwin, Paing Ye Thu, Di Yay and Pho Thar were arrested in April during the Burmese New Year celebration for criticising and making fun of the military during their performance. They 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 situations 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 materials about the country’s constitution and the military.

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.

Please take action and ask Aung San Suu Kyi to release Kay Khaing Tun, Zayar Lwin, Paing Ye Thu, Di Yay and Pho Thar and to repeal all repressive laws.