19 October 2007

Puppeteers arrested in Burma

According to a UNIMA report just released, two puppeteers and comedians have been arrested once again in Burma. U Pa Pa Lay and his cousin U Lu Zaw, known as "The Moustache Brothers", have been the focus of widespread and sustained campaigning by Amnesty International members around the world for the last five years.

The two puppeteer-comedians, U Pa Pa Lay, 49, and U Lu Zaw, 45, were sentenced in March 1996 to seven years' imprisonment for one of their comic performances. U Htwe and U Aung Soe, two political activists who arranged this performance, were also sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.

On 4 January 1996, the anniversary of Myanmar's independence from the UK, U Pa Pa Lay's Anyeint troupe, a traditional Burmese entertainment group, performed for a celebration at the home of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon (Rangoon, the capital). She is the leader of the main opposition party National League for Democracy and is currently held under de facto house arrest.

In their routine U Pa Pa Lay and U Lu Zaw joked about government cooperatives as thieves and sang a comic song about Myanmar's generals. Following the performance, they were arrested after they returned to their homes in Mandalay. It has been recently reported that the pair have recently been re-arrested by the Burmese regime!

"We strongly urge you to denounce this situation to the media of your country and write to your Ministry for Foreign Affairs so that they take an interest in these artists' situation and their release!" UNIMA International: 18 Oct 2007
You can watch some of their performance below...

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