Military Officer: ‘Rambo IV’ Defames Burma Army

By Kyaw Kha 30 March 2017

RANGOON — U Min Htay, a central committee member of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) facing trial under Article 17(1) of Burma’s Unlawful Association Act, is now likely to face another charge for his appearance in the 2008 Hollywood blockbuster “Rambo IV” which is deemed to defame the Burma Army.

U Min Htay was arrested by the Burma Army on Dec. 28 last year at the Sein Lone military checkpoint on the Bhamo–Lwegel road in Momauk Township, Kachin State, and charged for allegedly associating with Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has opted out of signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government.

As he appeared at Momauk Township court on Wednesday, Maj Nay Lin Htike of Bhamo-based 21st Military Operations Command (MOC-21), who is a prosecution witness, told the court that “Rambo IV,” in which U Min Htay played a military officer of a ruthless military regime in Burma, vilified the Burma Army.

“Rambo IV” is a 2008 action film and the fourth and final installment in the Rambo franchise which Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed and starred in.

The film depicts the rescue of Christian missionaries who came to an ethnic Karen village in Burma to provide medical aid and were kidnapped by Burmese government troops. It includes scenes of the Burma Army brutally torturing and massacring Karen people.

The character played by Stallone single-handedly killed dozens of Burmese soldiers to rescue hostages.

“The major told the court that he also found photos of my husband and Stallone, which defames the army,” Daw Nan Yin, wife of U Min Htay told The Irrawaddy.

After U Min Htay was arrested, the ABSDF central committee complained that both the government and the army already knew at the point of signing the NCA that ABSDF was based in both areas controlled by the government and by NCA non-signatories.

U Min Htay is currently being detained at Bhamo Prison and has lamented his arrest as the ABSDF is a NCA signatory, according to his wife.

There will be 10 prosecution witnesses to testify in the trial that is expected to last for at least the next six months. The next court appearance is set for April 5.

Burma Army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, in a meeting with NCA signatories on Jan. 24 in Naypyidaw, said the Burma Army had no plan to release U Min Htay, but would proceed in line with the law, ethnic leaders who attended the meeting told the media.

Together with seven other ethnic armed groups, the ABSDF signed the NCA with the previous U Thein Sein government on Oct. 15, 2015 and attended the 21st Century Panglong peace conference held in August last year under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

U Min Htay also played a part in “The Lady,” a 2011 film about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as Burmese movies critical of the Burma Army and the Parliament under the previous government.