Myanmar extends detention of US journalist, Metro Detroit native Danny Fenster
BANGKOK – Danny Fenster, the American journalist in Myanmar who was arrested by authorities last month, appeared in a special court on Thursday in the prison where he is being held, his employer said.
A statement from the online news and business magazine Frontier Myanmar, of which Fenster is editor-in-chief, said he was facing charges that could result in a potential three-year prison term.
The charges, which are often brought against dissidents and journalists, criminalize “any attempt to create fear, spread false news, or directly or indirectly incite a crime against a government employee”. The magazine does not know the reason for the indictment.
The military government has tried to silence independent news media by revoking their license to publish or broadcast and by arresting journalists.
According to the Myanmar Political Prisoner Agency, around 90 journalists have been arrested since the army took power in February, and more than half of them are still in custody.
The court ordered Fenster to be detained in Insein Prison in Yangon for two weeks and scheduled its next hearing on July 1st.
Myanmar authorities on Monday released another US journalist, Nathan Maung, who was arrested in March while working for a local online news agency.
Maung was deported to the United States on Tuesday after charges against him were dropped and his case dropped. A Kamayut Media colleague arrested with him, Hanthar Nyein, a Myanmar citizen, remains in detention.
Frontier said a lawyer represented Fenster on Thursday, but “Frontier representatives were not allowed to attend.
The magazine’s statement went on to say, “We are still looking for information about the reason for Danny’s arrest and further detention.”
Fenster, 37, was arrested at Yangon International Airport on May 24 while preparing to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to visit his family.
Two Myanmar journalists arrested more than a month ago were released on Thursday, the wife of one of them said.
Voice of Myanmar editor-in-chief Nay Myo Lin and reporter Shine Aung were arrested on April 27 while complying with an order to come forward for questioning on articles classified as anti-military.
Both returned to their homes after their release when the trials against them were dropped, said Zarni Mann, the wife of Nay Myo Lin. Voice of Myanmar, an online news service, has ceased operations after his arrest
“We said journalism is not a crime. Not only Nay Myo Lin, but also many other journalists were prosecuted and detained in prisons. I want all of the other detained journalists to be released, as well as Nay Myo Lin, ”said Zarni Mann.
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