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Tags: Myanmar | US Journalist

Official Myanmar Records Mistaken about Detained US Reporter

Official Myanmar Records Mistaken about Detained US Reporter

Friday, 05 November 2021 02:00 PM

BANGKOK (AP) — Testimony by prosecution witnesses on Friday in the case of Danny Fenster, a U.S. journalist who has been detained in Myanmar for more than five months, established that official records did not accurately show where he was employed, his lawyer said.

The point may be crucial because it appears that Fenster is being prosecuted for alleged offenses committed by a news outlet at least seven months after he stopped working there. Authorities have not clearly described what he is accused of doing. The trial is closed to the media and the public.

Fenster was detained at Yangon International Airport on May 24 as he was about to board a flight to go to the Detroit area in the United States to see his family. He is the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, an online news magazine based in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city.

He has been charged with incitement for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information, an offense punishable by up to three years in prison. He was also accused of violating the Unlawful Associations Act for contacting opposition groups that were declared illegal by Myanmar’s military-installed government. The offense carries a penalty of two to three years' imprisonment.

An additional charge of violating visa conditions that is punishable by six months to five years' imprisonment was added last month.

Fenster’s lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, said prosecution witnesses, including police officers, testified under cross-examination on Friday that a letter from the Information Ministry declared that the publishing license of Myanmar Now, another online news site, for the 2015 to 2025 period contained Fenster’s name in its list of editors.

Both Myanmar Now and Frontier Myanmar have issued statements saying that Fenster worked as a reporter and copy editor for Myanmar Now until July last year and joined Frontier Myanmar the following month.

“The witnesses said that Danny is in charge of Myanmar Now according to a letter from the Information Ministry. They testified in this way as Danny’s name is included in a letter sent by the Information Ministry. I don’t know why his name is on the list,” Than Zaw Aung told The Associated Press.

Last month, the judge said Fenster had been sought in connection with activities by Myanmar Now together with its chief editor, Ko Swe Win, according to Fenster’s lawyer. The judge also told Fenster that after Myanmar Now's license was revoked in March this year, it defied authorities by continuing to post stories about organizations opposed to the military takeover, the lawyer said.

Fenster is among about 100 journalists who have been detained since February, when the military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. About 30 remain in jail.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price urged Myanmar’s government on Thursday to immediately release Fenster.

"His detention, the detention of so many others, it’s a sad reminder of the continuing human rights and humanitarian crisis facing the country of Burma, facing the Burmese, but also facing foreign nationals, including Americans, who happen to be in Burma.” Price said, referring to Myanmar by its old name.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


GlobalTalk
Testimony by prosecution witnesses on Friday in the case of Danny Fenster, a U.S. journalist who has been detained in Myanmar for more than five months, established that official records did not accurately show where he was employed, his lawyer said.The point may be crucial...
Myanmar,US Journalist
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2021-00-05
Friday, 05 November 2021 02:00 PM
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