(New York, NY) – PEN America today welcomed news that Burmese filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was released from Insein prison. The following statement is from Julie Trébault, director of Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America. 

“We are overjoyed by the news that Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi has been freed from prison today and will be able to rejoin his family, friends, and students. His wrongful conviction in August dealt a harsh blow to freedom of artistic expression, striving to silence one of Myanmar’s most vocal and talented filmmakers and human rights activists. But Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi did not give up hope—in prison, he wrote two screenplays, and his immediate call for reform of the Burmese penal code upon his release demonstrates his ongoing bravery and unwillingness to flinch in the face of persecution. While Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi has found freedom, we remain staunch in our call for the Burmese government to drop any remaining charges and cease their ongoing persecution of creative artists, writers, and thinkers.”

In August of 2019, Ko Ko Gyi was sentenced to one year in prison for writing posts on Facebook that criticized Myanmar’s military. He wrote two screenplays while in prison, and called for a change to the criminal code upon his release.

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