Myanmar court sentenced journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in prison

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On June 4, 2021, people saw T-shirts being sold in support of American journalist Danny Fenster who was detained in Huntington Woods, Michigan.

Jeff Kowalski | AFP | Getty Images

On Friday, a military-ruled Myanmar court sentenced the detained American journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in prison for multiple crimes, including incitement to spread false or inflammatory information. Charge.

Lawyer Than Zaw Aung said that Fenster, the executive editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was also convicted of contacting illegal organizations and violating visa regulations.

Finster has been detained since May. He still faces two additional charges in different courts for allegedly violating anti-terrorism laws and a statute covering treason and sedition.

Finster was detained at Yangon International Airport on May 24 when he was about to board a plane to visit his family in the Detroit area of ​​the United States.

He is the only foreign journalist convicted of serious crimes since the army seized power in February and overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s election as the government.

The government stationed by the military severely cracked down on freedom of the press, shutting down almost all important media and arresting about 100 journalists, about 30 of whom are still in prison. Some closed outlets continued to operate without permits, and posted them online while their staff evaded arrest.

The army’s takeover was met with widespread peaceful protests, which were suppressed by deadly force. In addition to the arrests of approximately 10,000 people, the Political Prisoners Aid Association also detailed the deaths of more than 1,200 civilians. Armed resistance has spread since then, and UN experts and other observers fear that the rebellion that has just begun may fall into civil war.

Finster’s next challenge is the two other charges brought by his lawyer in another court in Yangon on Monday.

Than Zaw Aung said that one of the new charges is part of the Anti-Terrorism Law and is punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment. The military-backed government has stated that it will strictly apply the law in cases involving opposition organizations that it considers “terrorist”.

Another charge under the criminal law is often referred to as treason or sedition, and is punishable by imprisonment of 7 to 20 years.

The hearings on the first three charges were held in the court of Yangon Yongsheng Prison, where Fenster was detained. They are closed to the media and the public. The litigation record comes from Finster’s lawyers.


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