American Journalist Charged With Terrorism and Sedition

American Journalist Charged With Terrorism and Sedition

( – Myanmar’s junta charged American journalist Danny Fenster on Wednesday with sedition and terrorism. He was initially arrested back in May of this year while boarding a flight at Yangon International Airport, where he was attempting to travel back to see his family in the US.

Fenster, the managing editor of the independent outlet Frontier Myanmar, is currently being held at Insein Prison in Yangon. He stands accused of terrorism, sedition, immigration violations, dissent against the military, and unlawful association. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

A coup led by military commander Min Aung Hlaing took control of the country in February 2021. They declared a year-long state of emergency after Ms. Suu Kyi’s NLD party won a general election in a landslide victory.

The military-backed the opposing political party and demanded an election recount claiming there was statewide fraud. Although the election commission could find no evidence to support such claims, the coup commenced, sending Ms. Suu Kyi into hiding in an unknown location to escape arrest.

Since the coup, the military has repeatedly attempted to control the flow of news information to citizens of Myanmar. Measures to achieve this goal include limiting access to the internet, raiding journalism offices, issuing arrest warrants against reporters, and invalidating local media outlet licenses to practice journalism.

Back in September, State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed deep concern over Fenster’s imprisonment. He feels Myanmar’s junta has effectively made everyday journalism a crime. At the time, Price pressed for his release.

Officials say former US diplomat and hostage negotiator Bill Richardson brokered a deal to meet with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing to discuss Danny Fenster’s release, as he has previously done for other political prisoners worldwide. While he gave no further details, Richardson said the US State Department asked him not to raise Fenster’s case.

Fenster is among hundreds of journalists who have been imprisoned since the start of the coup. His family is calling on the Biden Administration and US State Department to secure his immediate release.

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