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Myanmar charges jailed US journalist with terrorism

November 10, 2021

The new charges levied by Myanmar’s military junta mean that Danny Fenster, who has been detained since May, could now face a life sentence.

US journalist Danny Fenster pictured at his home in Lafayette in Louisiana
US journalist Danny Fenster faces a lengthy prison term if convicted of the latest chargesImage: Fenster Family/AFP

Jailed US journalist Danny Fenster has been accused of two more criminal charges by Myanmar authorities. Fenster, who is an editor of the independent news publication Frontier Myanmar, now faces charges of sedition and terrorism.

The maximum sentence Fenster could receive if found guilty is life imprisonment.

What has Danny Fenster's lawyer said?

Speaking to news agency Reuters, Fenster's lawyer Than Zaw Aung said the latest charges were a blow to his client. "We don't understand why they added more charges but it is definitely not good that they are adding charges," Fenster's lawyer said.

"Danny also felt disappointed and sad regarding these new charges." When asked about his client's condition Than Zaw Aung said: "He has become quite thin."

The US State Department has been pushing for Fenster's release. Last week spokesman Ned Price said: "His detention, the detention of so many others, it's a sad reminder of the continuing human rights and humanitarian crisis facing the country of Burma, facing the Burmese, but also facing foreign nationals, including Americans, who happen to be in Burma.'' Price was referring to Myanmar, using the name it was formerly known as.

Why was Danny Fenster arrested?

Fenster was initially arrested in May as he made an attempt to leave the country for a family visit. He has been held for the past five months after being accused of incitement for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information.

He was also charged for allegedly contacting opposition groups deemed to be illegal by authorities.

The military has arrested dozens of journalists since seizing power in February. Authorities have also restricted internet in a bid to stem the flow of information. The coup resulted in a wave of protests which were harshly dealt with by the military.

kb/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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