Lifetime Imprisonment for Owning a Drone: ICFR Denounces Jailing of Myanmar Documentary Filmmaker Shin Daewe

Lifetime Imprisonment for Owning a Drone: ICFR Denounces Jailing of Myanmar Documentary Filmmaker Shin Daewe

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The Europe-based International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk has called for the immediate release of Myanmar documentary maker Shin Daewe.

One of Myanmar’s leading female filmmakers, Shin Daewe (“An Untitled Life,” “Take Me Home,” “A Bright Future”) was arrested in Yangon in October after she had gone to collect a drone.

After three months on remand she was tried by a military tribunal, inside the Insein Prison and without legal representation. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for violating Myanmar’s anti-terrorism law by possessing a drone.

Myanmar is ruled by a military junta that seized control in February 2021 from a civilian government that it had previously backed. Ever since, the army has been embroiled in a civil war against regional militia, leaving the economy largely wrecked and civil liberties in tatters. The junta has also jailed other filmmakers including Ma Aeint and Maung Thein Dan as well as journalists and photographers.

Describing itself as “deeply worried about her health and well-being,” the ICFR said it “stands with Shin Daewe and all those in Myanmar who stand up for their basic human rights and the freedom of expression and call on the Myanmar authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Shin Daewe.”

Her family said: “Our family simply wishes to see her resume her work as usual. We eagerly await the day when our sister will return home.”

“The conviction of Shin Daewe with its concomitant harsh sentencing is the latest example of the Myanmar junta’s relentless persecution of any dissent,” says European Film Academy chair and ICFR founding board member, Mike Downey, “This is the latest in a series of unfair trials and cruel and repressive sentences which are part of a broader effort to instill fear in the junta’s critics, suppress independent coverage, and deny the reality of the military’s serious and ongoing rights violations.  Freedom of speech and freedom of expression and freedom of media are noticeably absent in Myanmar right now, and ICFR will do what it can to help in the goal to free Shin Daewe from this disproportionate sentence.”

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