Antonio Forcione

Antonio Forcione

Taking a stand...

Comics back U Win Tin campaign

Comics including Bill Bailey, Ross Noble, Ed Byrne and Daniel Kitson have given their backing to a campaign to release Burmese dissident U Win Tin.

The journalist, who is 76 years old, has spent the last 16 years imprisoned in the Asian state now called Myanmar for campaigning for democracy and freedom of speech.

Stand-up Boothby Graffoe has long been campaigning for his release, and persuaded some of the biggest names in comedy to perform a series of gigs in London’s EDComedy venue last month in aid of the cause.

Tomorrow, in a full-page advert in Edinburgh listing magazine The Skinny, a full list of all those who appeared will be published, as well as more information highlighting U Win Tin’s case.

In free elections held in 1990, his National League for Democracy. won 82 per cent of the seats but the ruling military authorities never handed over power.

Since then he has remained in jail – the country’s longest-serving prisoner of conscience – where he has been tortured and denied medical treatment.

Graffoe desribes U Win Tin as ‘a bit like Nelson Mandela only he never blew anybody up’, while Amnesty International's Mike Blakemore said: ‘His imprisonment shows how Burma's justice system silences peaceful critics. Authorities must stop criminalising peaceful dissent.’

The full list of comics to appear in tomorrow’s advert is: Bill Bailey, Ross Noble, Ed Byrne, Danny Bhoy, Daniel Kitson, Jeff Green, Tim Vine, Rich Hall, Kevin Eldon, James Branch, Dave Thompson, Steve Frost, Nick Wilty, Alan Cochrane, Arthur Brown, Nick Pynn, Antonio Forcione, Phil Nichol, Stewart Lee

Amnesty is urging supporters to send letters of protest to General Than Shwe, Chairman, State Peace & Development Council, c/o Ministry of Defence, Dagon Post Office, Yangon, Myanmar.

This year’s Stand Up For Freedom benefit gig for Amnesty at the Edinburgh Fringe takes place at Assembly Hall at midnight on August 16.


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Published: 7 Aug 2006

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