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Extended line-up announced for Amnesty's legendary Edinburgh comedy night

Amnesty International today (3 August) announced an extended line-up for its famed Stand Up For Freedom comedy night at the Edinburgh Festival on 17 August.

Mark Watson, Ed Byrne, Russell Kane (Fosters’ Best Comedy winner 2010), Jenny Eclair, David O’Doherty, Holly Walsh and Roisin Conaty (Foster’s Best Newcomer 2010) will be joined by Michael Winslow, the “Man of 10,000 sound effects” star of the Police Academy films.

The show will be compered by Scottish comedy favourite Fred MacAulay and Charlie Baker (winner of Lets Dance for Comic Relief 2011). Yet more top comedy acts are still to be announced ahead of the show.

Stand up For Freedom, from the producers of the acclaimed Secret Policeman’s Ball, takes place at 9.30 pm at the EICC’s Venue 150 and is an annual sell-out. Tickets are available now from

Amnesty International marks 50 years of campaigning for freedom of expression this year, and has always focused on the Edinburgh festival as the ideal place to promote free speech and campaign for those whose rights are denied. This year it’s more relevant than ever, as the world has witnessed peaceful protesters in the Middle East and North Africa taking to the streets and demanding their basic rights.

Amnesty is hoping that a ‘mass text action’ from the 1,200-strong audience at the Stand up For Freedom show will help its new campaign to “Free the UAE 5”, five men detained in the United Arab Emirates and charged with “insulting officials” after calling for democracy and criticising the government.

Amnesty is asking people at the festival to text (SMS) the word “FREEDOM” followed by their name to 81222 to join a petition, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the “UAE 5”. The petition will be presented to the United Arab Emirates’ embassy in London ahead of their trial, now set for the end of September. Amnesty campaigners will also be out on the streets of Edinburgh getting festival-goers involved.

The ‘critics vs comics’ football match also returns to Edinburgh courtesy of Amnesty International and Fest magazine. Mark Watson captains the comedians’ team this year, with the critics looking to avenge last year’s 3-2 defeat.  It’s billed as “such a grudge match they had to get Amnesty International to referee” and may live up to the hype, on Sunday 14 August in the Meadows. Kick-off 2pm.

Amnesty International Scotland Director John Watson said:

“Stand Up For Freedom is always a great night out, where people can see the pick of the Fringe. It’s also a chance to do your bit to protect freedom of expression, without which the Festival simply couldn’t happen.

“We’ve always had great support from comedians, who value the right to free speech more than most. Amnesty has been defending this right for fifty years now, and that work is as important today as it was in 1961.”

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