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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

US journalist Danny Fenster gets 11 years jail in Myanmar


A Myanmar military court has sentenced US journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in jail.

Fenster was found guilty of violating immigration law, engaging in illegal association, and inciting dissent against the military.

He was charged with sedition and terrorism earlier this week, both of which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

On November 16, his trial on the new charges will begin.

Fenster, 37, was detained at Yangon International Airport in May while working as the managing editor of the online publication Frontier Myanmar. He is one of dozens of local journalists detained since the February military coup.

Fenster previously worked for Myanmar Now, an independent news site that has been critical of the military since the coup.

“The charges were all based on allegations that he worked for the outlawed media outlet Myanmar Now. Danny had left Myanmar Now in July 2020 and joined Frontier the following month, so he had been with Frontier for more than nine months at the time of his arrest in May 2021 “according to the news site

“There is absolutely no basis for Danny to be convicted of these charges.”

His sentencing on Friday comes months after a Japanese freelance journalist was arrested and charged with spreading fake news in Myanmar.

Yuki Kitazumi, a reporter for many of Japan’s major news outlets, was one of the country’s few foreign correspondents in Myanmar. Myanmar authorities maintain he broke the law, but he was released because Japan requested it.

The United States has pressed the military government to release him, but a military spokesman insisted that Fenster be kept in custody.

The US State Department said in a statement before the sentencing that “Danny’s detention is manifestly unjust, as the entire world can see. The regime should be prudent and release him now “..

The United States has yet to respond to the ruling.

The coup that unfolded

Myanmar’s military leaders seized power in February after the ruling National League of Democracy was defeated in a massive election.

It claimed it had no choice but to stage the coup due to widespread election fraud, despite the fact that the country’s election commission said there was no evidence to back up these claims.

The news of the coup sparked massive civilian protests across the country, which the military violently dispersed.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 1,178 people have been killed and 7,355 have been arrested, charged, or sentenced in a crackdown on dissent since then. (AAPP)

So far, approximately 80 local journalists have been detained for their reporting. According to the AAPP, 50 of them are still detained, and the other half have been prosecuted.

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