American journalist sentenced to 11 years in prison in Myanmar

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A military court in Myanmar sentenced American journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in prison, his lawyer said on Friday (12).

Fenster, 37, has been detained in Myanmar for more than five months. He has been denied bail and has been held in Insein Prison, in the country’s largest city, Yangon, since 24 May.

At a hearing on Friday, his lawyer Than Zaw Aung said the journalist was found guilty of three counts brought by the Myanmar military, which took control of the country in a February 1 coup.

These allegations include visa violations, illegal association with an illegal group and incitement under section 505a of the Myanmar Criminal Code, which makes it a crime to publish or circulate comments that “cause fear” or spread “false news”. Fenster was also fined.

He is one of nearly 100 journalists detained since the coup. About 30 remain behind bars.

Earlier this week, Fenster received two new criminal charges under the country’s sedition and terrorism laws, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, his lawyer said.

One of the new actions concerns Section 124a of the Myanmar Penal Code, which mandates seven to 20 years in prison for attempting to bring hatred, contempt or dissatisfaction against the government and the military.

The other charge falls under section 50a of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which makes contact with officially designated “terrorist” groups a crime. Thus, Fenster faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison if convicted, in accordance with his attorney and Myanmar sentencing guidelines.

It was unclear why the charges were brought against the former editor-in-chief of Frontier Myanmar, an independent news agency covering current affairs, business and politics in Myanmar. Fenster was arrested at Yangon International Airport while trying to leave the country to see his family in the United States.

A CNN Business contacted the Myanmar military for comment, but received no response.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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