US journalist detained in Myanmar charged with terrorism charges, faces life in prison

US journalist detained in Myanmar charged with terrorism charges, faces life in prison

The Myanmar junta indicted an American journalist, Danny Fenster on Wednesday (11/10/2021). Fenster's lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, said Danny Fenster was charged with terrorism and sedition, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

According to CNA, in May, Danny Fenster was arrested while trying to leave Myanmar.

Fenster was charged under anti-terror and sedition laws.

Sentencing under counterterrorism laws carries Fenster to a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The trial is scheduled to begin on November 16, 2021.

Fenster, 37, who worked for local outlet Frontier Myanmar for about a year, was tried for allegedly encouraging dissent against the military, unlawful associations and violating immigration laws, and was then detained at Insein prison in Yangon, Myanmar.

Lawyers say Fenster became thinner after being detained.

"He became very thin," Than Zaw Aung said.

Fenster was disappointed to be charged with the new charges, which were filed on Tuesday (9/11/2021).

They come days after former US diplomat and hostage negotiator Bill Richardson met the head of the junta, Min Aung Hlaing in the capital Naypyidaw, giving the increasingly isolated junta rare publicity.

Richardson has previously negotiated the release of US prisoners and servicemen in North Korea, Cuba, Iraq and Sudan and has recently sought to free US-affiliated convicts in Venezuela.

The former UN ambassador said he hoped he could broker a deal for the resumption of visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross to prisons already filled with political prisoners.

Richardson, who declined to provide further details, said the State Department asked him not to raise Fenster's case during his visit.

Myanmar Coup

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 1,200 people have been killed by security forces in the crackdown on dissent.

The press has also been squeezed as the junta tries to tighten control over the flow of information, restrict Internet access and revoke local media licenses.

Several journalists critical of the military government were among those released last month in a junta amnesty to mark a Buddhist festival.

According to Reporting ASEAN, more than 100 journalists have been arrested since the coup.

It said 31 were still being held.

The coup ended the country's short-term experiment with democracy, with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi now facing a series of charges in junta trials that could see her jailed for decades.