Amnesty announces fantastic comedy line-up and campaign for jailed comedian at Edinburgh Festival

Amnesty International today (Monday 28th June) announced its sensational line-up for the famed Stand Up For Freedom comedy event at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Featuring 2009 award-winner Tim Key, John Bishop, Mark Watson, Josie Long, Dan Antopolski and Danielle Ward, it has to be one of the strongest line-ups of the Fringe – with more names still to be announced.

Amnesty’s involvement with the world’s largest arts festival is based on the celebration of freedom of expression and fighting for the rights of people whose free speech is denied. This year we’re campaigning for Zarganar, Burma’s top comedian, who is currently serving a 35-year jail sentence for speaking out against the government. Amnesty will be out on Edinburgh’s streets this year asking festival-goers to take their own stand for freedom of expression, in solidarity with the people of Burma.

Stand Up for Freedom has a new, earlier time of 10pm on Thursday 19 August and for the first time, this year the show comes from Venue 150 at the EICC. Tickets are £14 each from www.venue150.com (tel. 0844 8471639)

Amnesty International’s Programme Director in Scotland, John Watson, said:

“This year’s Stand Up For Freedom gig is going to be one of our best yet. It’s a fantastic line-up and this year’s campaign for a jailed comedian really underlines why it’s such an important event, for audiences and performers alike

 “Expressing yourself is what the Edinburgh Festival’s all about and Amnesty’s job is to defend your right to do that, without someone throwing you in jail because they don’t like what they hear.

“Burma’s government keeps trying to stamp out any criticism – even from one of the country’s best-loved comedians – and yet brave people keep speaking out.

“Everyone coming to the EICC on the 19th will have a brilliant night, the line-up guarantees that. But they’ll also help us to pressure the Burmese government to release a comedian who has been unfairly imprisoned.”

Stand Up For Freedom is just one part of a packed programme from Amnesty in Edinburgh this summer. The organisation will once again be proud to give its Freedom of Expression Award to an outstanding Fringe play that carries a human rights message, at an awards ceremony at 11am on Thursday 26th August.

Amnesty’s Imprisoned Writers Series returns to the Edinburgh International Book Festival each day from 14-29 August, with top writers reading from the works of others who have been locked up, threatened or even killed for what they have written. Amnesty will also be launching a fantastic new novel exploring one of today’s paramount human rights themes, while the Amnesty Lecture on Saturday 28 August is sure to be a sell-out, with a big name from the world of human rights soon to be announced.

Amnesty is also hosting a special exhibition by six cutting-edge Scottish graffiti artists, who have taken their inspiration from individual freedom of expression cases that Amnesty has taken up over its 49-year history. Their work will be on show at the C Venues SoCo Urban Garden, on Edinburgh's Cowgate, where the exhibition will be launched in the first week of August with a spectacular live painting session by the artists, who will create a collaborative work focusing on freedom of expression in Burma.

Find out more about at www.amnesty.org.uk/edfest

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