Festival gets behind jailed Burma comic

Amnesty International today asked comedians and audiences at the Edinburgh Festival to get behind a new campaign for a comedian jailed for 35 years for criticising the government.

Zarganar, 49, one of Burma's biggest comedians, has been held in Myitkyina Prison, in Burma's northern Kachin State, since November 2008, after he criticised the Burmese government's response to Cyclone Nargis.

Amnesty is asking people to go to www.amnesty.org.uk/zarganar to download a letter to send to the Burmese authorities demanding Zarganar's immediate and unconditional release.

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Comedian Josie Long, who is currently performing at the Fringe, said: "What's really staggering about Zarganar's story is that the government ultimately locked him up for doing charity work."

Amnesty campaigners will be out on the streets across Edinburgh generating more public support for the campaign. They will be taking photos of festival-goers holding up their hand, with the name of Zarganar or one of many other Burmese prisoners written on their palm. All the photos will be taken to Brussels for October's Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).