Myanmar: Court sentences US journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in jail

Frontier Myanmar’s managing editor Danny Fenster was found guilty and sentenced by a court to 11 years in prison with hard labour on November 12. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the Myanmar military’s unjust prosecution of Fenster and call for his immediate release.

Danny Fenster was arrested on May 24, 2021. Credit: Frontier Myanmar

Fenster’s court hearing was closed to the media and public and took place inside Yangon’s infamous Insein Prison, where he has been held since his initial arrest by the military on May 24. According to Fenster’s lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, the court found him guilty of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organisations and violating visa regulations. The court sentenced Fenster to the maximum penalty on each charge

Despite the guilty verdict, Fenster faces further charges of sedition and violations of the terrorism act, levelled against him without explanation on November 10. If found guilty of sedition or terrorism, he could face an additional 20 years in prison for each charge.

Fenster is the first western journalist to have been convicted of over 100 arrested journalists and faces the harshest punishment of the seven journalists that have been convicted since the military-coup on February 1, 2021.

The IFJ said: “Danny Fenster’s sentencing sends a dangerous message of the military junta’s absolute disregard for press freedom to suppress critical voices and reports on human rights violations. The IFJ calls on authorities to drop the remaining charges and immediately release Fenster. The ongoing human rights abuses in Myanmar has devastated the country’s media landscape, and the IFJ continues to urge Myanmar’s military-junta to release and drop the charges against all of the media workers that have been detained since February 1, 2021.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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