Myanmar extends detention of US journalist Danny Fenster

In this file photo taken on June 04, 2021 The parents of detained journalist Danny Fenster, Buddy Fenster (L) and Rose Fenster (C) and brother Bryan Fenster (R) gather in Huntington Woods, Michigan, on June 4, 2021. Fenster, detained in Myanmar since May, appeared in a special court on June 17, 2021, his employers said, where he faces charges under a law that criminalizes encouraging dissent against the military. Fenster, managing editor of the Frontier Myanmar news outlet, appeared in court "to face a charge under section 505-A of the Penal Code", which carries a maximum three-year jail sentence, Frontier said in a statement. He was later remanded to Yangon's Insein Prison, it said, adding he was scheduled to appear again in court on July 1. - AFP

YANGON, June 18 (dpa): A special court in Myanmar's Insein Prison has extended the detention of US journalist Danny Fenster by two weeks.

Fenster, the managing editor of the monthly English-language magazine Frontier Myanmar, was taken into custody on May 24 at Yangon International Airport shortly before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur, on his way to US.

Frontier Myanmar's editor-in-chief, Thomas Kean, told dpa Fenster is facing a charge under section 505(a) of the penal code, which carries a potential three-year prison term, but he has not formally been charged yet.

"Representatives from Frontier were not given permission to attend (the court hearing). We are still seeking information on the reason for Danny’s arrest and continued detention," a statement from the media outlet said.

Fenster was remanded to Insein Prison in Yangon for two more weeks, the court ruled on Thursday. His next appearance in court is scheduled on July 1. Insein is infamous for holding political prisoners in its huge complex, where inmates are known to face inhumane and abusive conditions.

More than 865 people have been killed across the country and over 6, 000 detained, including over 80 local journalists, since a February 1 military coup that ousted the civilian leadership.

The military continues its crackdowns and raids on civilians as anti-coup protesters keep up daily demonstrations across the country.

On May 12, Min Nyo from the Democratic Voice of Burma became the first journalist to be imprisoned since the coup. He was handed a three-year sentence under Article 505(a).

Section 505 makes it a crime to publish or circulate statements and reports that may do harm to the military or question the legitimacy of its actions. Rights group say it is being used frequently against dissidents and journalists. - dpa

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