Film producer Ma Aeint has been sentenced to three years of jail, with hard labour, by a court in Yangon, Myanmar.
Ma Aeint is an alumna of FAMU Summer Filmmaking Initiation Campus, Locarno Open Doors Lab, as well as Ties That Bind. She is a producer and co-writer of MONEY HAS FOUR LEGS, directed by Maung Sun which ran in the New Currents competition at the 2020 Busan International Film Festival. Together, they also co-wrote a script about a filmmaker coming to terms with the realities of making a debut film and facing the censorship authorities.
Ma Aeint was detained in June last year and ,after ten months in jail as a political prisoner, was found guilty on Friday of breaching Article 505A of Myanmar’s criminal code which penalises “causing fear, spreading fake news or agitating against government employees.”
Ma Aient pleaded not guilty to the charges and had legal representation at the hearing at a prison court.
“The human rights situation in Myanmar under its military regime has long been regarded as among the worst in the world,” says International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk board member and European Film Academy chairman Mike Downey. “This harsh sentencing of Ma Aeint is a clear example and representation of the cruelty of the current regime and its desire to clamp down [on] the basic rights of freedom of expression. The ICFR will continue to campaign for her release and we deplore this act of cruel sentencing to the full extent of the law.”
Her sentence is the maximum available under the law, three years of jail, with hard labour, from which the ten months that she has already been officially detained may be deducted. ICFR calls on the Myanmar authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ma Aient and we encourage all film and culture institutions around the world to do the same.