PEC demands unconditional release of American journalist Danny Fenster

Geneva: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and
rights body, expressed its dismay over the 11-year imprisonment of
American journalist Danny Fenster by the military junta of Myanmar
(also known as Burma and Brahmadesh) and demanded his immediate and
unconditional release by the military dictators in Naypietaw.
Mentionable is that the US journalist was arrested on 24 May 2021
from Yangon (formerly Rangoon) International Airport as he was
preparing to leave Myanmar for visiting his family in Detroit,
Michigan. Since then, Danny (around 40 years old) has been imprisoned
in Insein jail of Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, as the scribe
was repeatedly denied bail.

Lately, the military court inside the infamous prison, which otherwise
enjoys little liberty in the military ruled south-east Asian nation,
pronounced the verdict on 12 November to imprison Danny for 11 years
against various charges of visa breaches, defaming the Burmese
military personnel and also joining hands with unlawful elements.
Conspiracy is seemingly hatched against Danny to keep him inside bars
for whole life.

“It is frustrating that a professional journalist has been targeted
with various baseless allegations and tried under the military court
with no credibility. The military regime, led by Min Aung Hlaing, is
trying its best to destroy the free press in Myanmar. They even dared
to diktat the foreign media outlets to describe the military
government properly,” said Blaise Lempen, general-secretary of PEC.

Danny becomes the third foreign journalist to be arrested by the
military junta. Earlier they detained independent scribes Robert
Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan, who were later
released and subsequently deported from Myanmar. Associated with
Frontier Myanmar, a digital media outlet covering political affairs,
business, environment, etc of Myanmar, Danny earlier worked for
Myanmar Now, lately banned by the military regime.

Various international organisations have criticised the Burmese junta
for fraudulently detaining the US journalist and demanded his urgent
release. The US State Department in a statement issued from Washington
commented that Danny’s sentence is ‘an unjust conviction of an
innocent person’. While condemning the decision, the United States
asserted it will continue to work for Danny’s release so that he can
return home safely.

Speaking to PEC’s south-east Asia representative Nava Thakuria, a
Burmese journalist claimed that the military generals after grabbing
political power on 1 February last deposing Aung San Suu Kyi led
National League for Democracy government, had imprisoned over 125
journalists, who supported the anti-junta movements across Myanmar.
Nearly 50 among them are still behind bars, added the journalist who
wanted anonymity.

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