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AP: U.S. Actors: Free Burma Comedia

Subject: AP: U.S. Actors: Free Burma Comedian 04/09/97

                         U.S. Actors: Free Burma

                         Wednesday, April 9, 1997 5:25 am EDT

                         BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Steve Allen, Jayne
                         Carl Reiner and seven other prominent American
                         have appealed to Burma's military government to
free a Burmese
                         comedian imprisoned for mocking the regime.

                         In a letter to Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the head of
military intelligence,
                         the entertainers asked for the release of Par Par
Lay, whose
                         health they say has deteriorated.

                         Par Par Lay was part of a musical troupe that
performed Jan. 4,
                         1996, at the Rangoon home of Aung San Suu Kyi,
winner of the
                         1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent campaign

                         A contraband videotape of the performance, widely
circulated in
                         Burma, shows him satirizing the ruling State Law
and Order
                         Restoration Council. He was sentenced to seven
years' hard labor
                         for ``spreading false news.''

                         The letter, dated March 15 and made public today
by the
                         U.S.-based Human Rights Watch/Asia, also was
signed by Ted
                         Danson, Mike Farrell, Mary Steenburgen, Paul
Reiser, Bill
                         Maher, Paul Rodriguez and Larry Gelbart.

                         The signatories said they wanted ``to personally
express our
                         concerns and urge you to take immediate action and
                         unconditionally release from detention one of our
colleagues, the
                         esteemed comedian Par Par Lay.''

                         Human Rights Watch/Asia said Par Par Lay fell
seriously ill while
                         wearing an iron shackle that makes sleep
impossible and carrying
                         a heavy hourly quota of crushed rocks used to
build a new

                                   ? Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

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