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Myanmar comedian among 32 freed

Comedian Par Par Lay is among the people freed earlier this week after being arrested in September's crackdown.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2007 12:34 IST

Beloved Myanmar comedian Par Par Lay was among 32 people freed from jail earlier this week after being arrested in late September's crackdown on anti-government protests, a spokesman for the National League of Democracy (NLD) party said today.

Par Par Lay, the most outspoken of the banned comic trio the "Moustache Brothers," which is famous for its biting parodies of the ruling junta, was seized on September 25.

He was arrested for joining 30,000 monks who took to the streets of Mandalay, at the same time that monks in Yangon led 100,000 people in the largest anti-government protests to hit Myanmar in 20 years.

At least 13 people were killed and officially about 3,000 detained when the junta violently suppressed the demonstrations, although the real numbers are thought to be higher.

After more than a month in Mandalay's Ohbo prison, Par Par Lay, known as Moustache Brother Number One, was released on Tuesday along with 31 other NLD members, party spokesman Nyan Win told AFP.

About 100 party members arrested in the crackdown remain in jails across the country, Nyan Win said.

"I hope they will be released soon," he added.

The Moustache Brothers had been banned from performing for the last six years, but they persevered, performing mainly for tourists. Par Pay Lay mocked the ban by parading under a "Most Wanted" sign during his shows.

He has been imprisoned twice before -- first for six months in 1990, and then again in 1996 when he and Moustache Brother Number Three, Lu Zaw, were locked up for nearly six years.