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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Myanmar. Danny Fenster has been released from a Burmese prison

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American journalist Danny Fenster was released on Monday from jail in the junta-ruled Myanmar and is leaving the country, Reuters reported, citing the editorial office of the online magazine “Frontier Myanmar” where Fenster is employed. The American was sentenced three days earlier by a Burmese court to 11 years in prison on charges of “terrorism, membership of an illegal organization and immigration crime.”

Reuters news agency said on Monday that the circumstances of Fenster’s release were not clear. A spokesman for the ruling military council in Myanmar / Burma did not respond to a request for comment.


“We are relieved that Danny is finally released from prison, which he should never have been in,” said Frontier Myanmar’s editor-in-chief Thomas Kean in a statement. “But we also realize that Danny is one of the many journalists in Myanmar who was wrongly arrested simply for doing their job after the February coup,” he added.

Kean called on the Burmese junta to release all journalists trapped in the country.

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Danny FensterReuters

Appeals for release

Danny Fenster was the first Western journalist to be sentenced to prison in recent years in Myanmar, where in February this year the junta made coup d’état against a democratically elected government led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Human rights organizations condemned the junta over the court’s sentence, and the United States called for his release. Friday’s court verdict on the journalist’s case Frontier Myanmar has been described by the US as an “unacceptable attack on freedom of expression”.

The charges against them

The 37-year-old journalist has been held in Insein Prison in Rangoon since May. His lawyer said Friday’s sentence was passed on the basis of laws governing “terrorism, immigration and illegal associations.” The criminal charges against them are related to the alleged incitement to disobedience against the army, which took power in Myanmar on February 1, and membership of an illegal organization. He was even threatened with life imprisonment.

In early November, Fenster was further charged with immigration offenses, despite the journalist’s visa being valid at the time of his arrest in May at Rangoon airport as he attempted to leave the country.

Main photo source: Reuters

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