Caught on camera: Burma's political prisoners

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A ground breaking photography project by award-winning documentary journalist James Mackay calls for the unconditional release of all Burmese political prisoners, of whom human rights groups estimate there are over 2,000 currently languishing in jail.

Many of those incarcerated took part in the democracy demonstrations in 1988, were members of dissident groups or otherwise fell foul of the junta. Over 160 former prisoners have been photographed and their stories recorded by Mackay for Even Though I’m Free I Am Not, which is due to be exhibited at Amnesty International’s UK headquarters next week.



Central St Martin’s photography graduate Mackay has been working closely with human rights organizations the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and the Democratic Voice of Burma for the last 18 months to locate and talk to former prisoners, many of whom agreed to be photographed with the name of a current political prisoner emblazoned on their palm.

See the pictures and read the stories of Burma's ex-political prisoners by clicking here or on the image above

“I came up with the idea initially then I approached the AAPP to discuss it with them. I wanted to see if they thought people would be happy to get involved. I was keen to do it only if the former prisoners were completely happy about it,” Mackay told The Independent Online.



“But it just took off. This is perhaps because, as you can imagine, former prisoners form quite a tight knit group. Amnesty is taking the project forwards as part if its main campaign for political prisoners.” Most of those included in the project have fled Burma since their release. Mackay says there's little risk to those who have taken part because they're living outside the country, but there is still an element of danger involved which makes their participation all the more commendable.



Mackay has photographed former political prisoners from other countries as well as Burma, including Japan, the UK, Norway and Thailand. The project took second place in the political photojournalism category at the prestigious Prix de la Photographie Paris 2010 awards last month.

The exhibition at Amnesty opens on Monday at an event during which several former Burmese prisoners of conscience will be speaking, including Daw Nita Yin Yin May and Khun Saing, both of whom are featured in the project.

Even Though I’m Free I Am Not opens at Amnesty International's UK headquarters in Shoreditch, London on Monday 21 June and runs until Thursday 24 June. www.amnesty.org.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Support Assistant - Hampshire - up to 40K

£25000 - £40000 per annum + 23 days holiday Pension Scheme: Deerfoot IT Resour...

.Net Developer -London - up to 55K

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits : Deerfoot IT Resources Limited...

Compliance Officer - Trading Firm - London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + excellent package & bonus expectations: Real Staff...

Senior Compliance Executive - Top Bank - London

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: A highly successful Co...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil