Burma: American journalist Danny Fenster sentenced to 11 years in prison

American journalist Danny Fenster pictured in 2018 in Detroit, USA.

AP

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An American journalist, detained for nearly six months in Burma, was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison by the junta, which has continued to strangle the press since the February coup. 

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Danny Fenster was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting dissent, illegal association and violation of visa law

 ," his lawyer Than Zaw Aung told AFP, adding that his client has yet to decided whether or not to appeal.

In a separate proceeding, he is also charged with terrorism and sedition and faces life imprisonment.

Danny Fenster is the first Western journalist to be detained in years in Burma, where the generals regained power in February with a coup against former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Frontier Myanmar

, one of the country's main independent media outlets, in which the journalist worked as editor-in-chief, said in a statement " 

deeply disappointed

 ".

We just want him to be released as quickly as possible so that he can return home and reunite with his family 

."

Solicited, a spokesperson for the junta was not immediately available.

This sentence is " 

scandalous and unacceptable

(...)

the charges were fabricated from scratch, 

" said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia department at Human Rights Watch.

A meeting between an American diplomat and the head of the junta

“ 

This regime does not respect any rule.

He is determined to do what he wants, 

”noted Richard Horsey of the International Crisis Group (ICG) analysis center.

It is a big setback for American diplomacy 

" which deploys a lot of efforts for this liberation.

This conviction comes a few days after a meeting between the former American diplomat Bill Richardson and

the head of the junta Min Aung Hlaing

.

The two men discussed the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies.

Bill Richardson, who declined to give more details, said the US State Department asked him not to bring up the journalist's case during the visit.

Danny Fenster, 37, was arrested on May 24 at Yangon International Airport as he tried to leave the country.

Since then, he has been detained in the economic capital at Insein prison with many political prisoners.

(a

vec

AFP)

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