The Center for Democracy and Development Foundation, a Burmese nongovernmental organization, said on April 19 that the Burmese court had extended the detention of American journalist Danny Fenster. Fenster has been in detention since November 2017, after an article he wrote for the Myanmar Journalist Network was found to have breached the country’s Information defamation law.
Myanmar journalist Danny Fenster has been granted an extension by the Myanmar government to remain in pre-trial detention following his arrest earlier this month.
Danny Fenster, a journalist and American citizen who is a member of the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi loyalist Myanmar National League for Democracy, was arrested on May 8th, 2015 while covering the ongoing mass protests in Myanmar. He was charged under Section 7 of the country’s Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Danny Fenster’s pre-trial detention in Myanmar (Burma) has been prolonged till September 20 by a Myanmar court. Fenster was detained at Yangon International Airport on May 24 as he was ready to go to his parents’ home in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press.
According to the Detroit Free Press and WDET, an NPR affiliate in Detroit, Fenster has been charged with inciting and faces a three-year jail term if proven guilty. Fenster was the managing editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, which can be found at www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/, according to the news organizations.
The Myanmar court conducted a hearing on September 6, according to the Detroit Free Press, during which it was determined that Fenster’s case will be heard on September 20. Fenster’s counsel was not present for the hearing, which was held by video owing to the Coronavirus epidemic, according to the publication.
Danny Fenster, a metro Detroit journalist, is imprisoned in Myanmar more than 100 days after his arrest. Fenster faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail if convicted. https://t.co/3gRcpFIBdW
— September 7, 2021, WDET 101.9FM (@wdet)
COVID-19 and the dangers it poses in prison
The coronavirus was “running wild” in Myanmar, according to WDET, with the coronavirus “particularly in the jail where Danny’s being kept.”
He hasn’t been vaccinated.” Danny Fenster informed his lawyer that he believed he had COVID-19, according to the Detroit Free Press. A Myanmar jail officer, Chan Aye Kyaw, was cited in the press as stating that Fenster did not have COVID-19. According to WDET, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the US government are demanding Fenster’s release.
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‘Journalism is not a crime,’ says the author.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, asked for Fenster’s release on September 1. “Journalism is not a crime,” Price added, calling the detention of Fenster and other journalists “an outrageous assault on Burma’s freedom of speech.” He said that on August 27, the State Department spoke with Fenster over the phone.
“We also keep in contact with the Fenster family on a regular basis,” Price said. He emphasized, “We’re still putting pressure on Burma’s military government to free Danny right now. We will continue to do so until he is safely returned to his family.” The full statement by the spokesman may be seen at www.state.gov/briefings/.
The John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award will be presented in 2021.
The John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award was given to Fenster and Haze Fan, a Bloomberg news assistant in China, by the National Press Club this year.
The prize was awarded to one American journalist and one international journalist, according to the organization’s website, www.press.org. Fenster had previously worked for a magazine named Myanmar Now, but had left 10 months before his detention, according to the National Press Club. Fenster and Fan were remembered by the organization “exemplify the significance of telling the truth and persevering in the face of adversity. We will continue to fight for their freedom and their right to work as journalists.”
“Danny Fenster will receive the 2021 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, which honors journalists who courageously strive to reveal the truth in difficult circumstances,” according to the National Press Club. https://t.co/2zrwkhIgI6
September 1, 2021 — John M. Donnelly (@johnmdonnelly)
Fenster grew raised in Huntington Woods, a Detroit suburb, according to WDET.
The Fenster family is in Congressman Andy Levin’s district, and he has tweeted his support for Danny Fenster with the hashtag #BringDannyHome.
At a Jewish community gathering, I discussed how I am continuously trying to obtain Danny Fenster’s release. The support I’ve received from the Jewish community and Americans across the world has been incredible. I know his family feels the same way. We can #BringDannyHome if we work together. pic.twitter.com/V1ofD75cmu
August 31, 2021 — Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin)
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A Myanmar court has extended the pre-trial detention of Danny Fenster for 14 days by another two days, according to The Irrawaddy. The journalist was arrested in November 2013. Since then, the court has extended the detention nine times, most recently in March. The court had initially granted him a three month detention, but this was later extended to six months.. Read more about danny fenster petition and let us know what you think.
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