US Journalist Detained in Myanmar Facing New Charges of Terrorism and Sedition
An U.S. journalist currently being held in Myanmar on various charges is now facing two new charges of terrorism and sedition filed Tuesday in a Yangon court, according to his lawyer.
Danny Fenster, the managing editor of the Yangon-based online news magazine Frontier Myanmar, has been in custody since May 24 when he was detained at Yangon International Airport before he was to board a flight to the United States and was initially charged with incitement for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information.
Fenster has since been charged with violating the colonial-era Unlawful Associations Act for allegedly contacting opposition groups deemed illegal by the ruling military junta and for violating immigration laws. Advocacy groups say the Unlawful Associations Act has been used to arbitrarily arrest political activists in the 1990s and is now being implemented by the current military junta.
Fenster’s lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, said the new charges of terrorism and sedition that were filed against his client could have Fenster face a total of 30 years in prison if convicted of both charges. That would be, Than Zaw Aung said, on top of the combined 11 years in prison under the previous three charges.
Than Zaw Aung said Fenster’s arrest is based on his brief employment as a copy editor with the online news service Myanmar Now, which he quit last year before joining Frontier Myanmar magazine.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted the civilian government on February 1 and arrested several of its leaders, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
The military junta claimed the election results were fraudulent, an allegation rejected by the country’s election commission. Violent clashes between the military and citizens who have staged mass demonstrations against the junta have left an estimated 1,200 citizens dead, according to a local monitoring group.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.