Region: Southeast Asia

Number of Trials: 1

Peacock Generation Troupe

In Myanmar, TrialWatch monitored the trial of seven members of the Peacock Generation troupe who were prosecuted for a performance of thangyat—a traditional form of slam poetry—that criticized the Burmese military’s role in politics.

Peacock Generation Troupe

Paing Ye Thu, a member of the Peacock Generation, a satirical poetry troupe, talks to media outside of Botataung court in Yangon, Myanmar, November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang

The troupe was charged with making a statement “with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or airman in the Army, Navy or Air Force to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such.” Six of the seven members were convicted and given jail time in a trial that violated their fair trial rights and their right to freedom of expression. The TrialWatch Fairness Report on the case assigned the trial a grade of “D,” commenting that the “trial appeared to be a form of political persecution or harassment.”

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The Peacock Generation troupe performs thangyat, a traditional form of slam poetry that functions as social criticism. Six out of the seven members were convicted after an April 2019 performance making jokes about the military and criticizing the military’s role in politics.

See the Fairness Report