American Journalist Danny Fenster Handed 11 Year Jail Sentence By Myanmar Military Court

On Friday, Danny Fenster, an American journalist, was sentenced by a military court in Myanmar to 11 years imprisonment. This comes five months after Fenster was taken into custody in Myanmar by the military junta that seized power in a coup.

A man wears a T-shirt calling for Danny Fenster's release in Huntington Woods. AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Fenster, the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar's online publication, was found guilty for violating the country’s immigration law, unlawful association, and encouraging dissent towards the military government. Frontier reports that the charges against the 37 year-old were based upon his work with Myanmar Now, a banned news site that criticised the military. Earlier this week the journalist was hit with two additional charges of sedition and terrorism, which could lead to a sentence of life imprisonment--charges he will be tried for from next week. According to Reuters Fenster is the western journalist who was first detained in Myanmar after the military's February 1 coup. This sentencing is a blow to U.S. efforts to free Fenster. The U.S. State Department had previously called for Danny's release and stated that Danny's "profoundly unjust" detention was obvious for the entire world to see.

Important Quote

Thomas Kean, Frontier Myanmar's editor in chief, reacted to the sentence by saying: "There is absolutely nothing to convict Danny for these charges." His legal team showed the court that he was no longer working in Myanmar Now but had been working for Frontier since the middle of last.

Important Background

Fenster is one of many journalists detained in Myanmar during protests against the military coup. The junta has had a difficult time consolidating power since overthrowing Myanmar’s elected government in February. It has also accused independent media of supporting it. A freelance journalist from Japan was arrested by the military and accused of spreading fake news. Japan demanded that he be released. Biden's administration tried to press the junta with various sanctions against high-profile members of the regime, while calling for the restoration of the country’s elected government.

Big Number

1,253. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, (AAPP), this is the number of civilians killed in the military coup in February. The military regime has also taken the liberty of 10,034 people.

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U.S. journalist Fenster is held for 11 years in Myanmar army-ruled (Reuters)

American journalist Danny Fenster sentenced in Myanmar to 11 years imprisonment (CNN).