Myanmar: American journalist Danny Fenster accused of terrorism and sedition


Fenster, 37, from Detroit, Mich., Has been detained in Myanmar for more than five months. He was denied bail and has been held in Insein Prison, in the country’s largest city, Yangon, since his arrest on May 24.

On Tuesday, a Yangon courthouse filed sedition and terrorism charges against Fenster – the most serious against the journalist to date, his lawyer Than Zaw Aung told CNN.

One of the charges falls under section 124a of the Myanmar Penal Code, which provides for seven to 20 years’ imprisonment for attempted incitement to hatred, contempt or disaffection with the government and l ‘army.

The other charge falls under Article 50a of the Anti-Terrorism Law, which criminalizes any contact with officially designated “terrorist” groups.

It was not immediately clear why the charges were brought against the former editor of Frontier Myanmar, an independent outlet that covered Myanmar news, business and politics. Fenster was arrested at Yangon International Airport as he attempted to leave the country to see his family in the United States.

CNN has contacted the Burmese military for comment.

Fenster now faces a total of five separate charges, including visa violations, unlawful association with an illegal group, and incitement under Section 505a of Myanmar’s Criminal Code, which criminalizes publication. or the dissemination of comments that “scare” or spread “fake news”. “

He is one of some 100 journalists detained since the army seized power in the February 1 coup, around 30 of whom remain behind bars.

It is not known why Fenster was arrested and there are few details on his case. Trials and hearings take place not in civilian courts, but in military courts held within prison walls. Members of the public, journalists and embassy officials are excluded from the proceedings.

The military junta, which seized power in a February 1 coup, attempted to silence the country’s media by revoking independent publishing and broadcasting licenses, raiding newspaper offices and by targeting journalists for arrest.

Fenster’s family is campaigning tirelessly for his release. They are calling on the Biden administration and the US State Department to secure his release and return to the United States.

In September, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States remained “deeply concerned” over Fenster’s continued detention.

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