US journalist charged with terrorism, sedition in Myanmar


American journalist Danny Fenster, detained in Myanmar since May, has been charged with sedition and terrorism by the ruling junta which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, his lawyer said Wednesday.

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

He had been working for local outlet Frontier Myanmar for around a year and was heading home to see his family when he was detained.

He is already on trial for allegedly encouraging dissent against the military, unlawful association and breaching immigration law, his lawyer Than Zaw Aung said.

“He has become quite thin,” Than Zaw Aung continued.

Fenster was “disappointed” at being hit with the new charges, which were filed on Tuesday, he added.

They come days after former US diplomat and hostage negotiator Bill Richardson met junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in the capital Naypyidaw, handing the increasingly isolated junta some rare publicity.

The Southeast Asian country has been mired in chaos since a February coup, with the military trying to crush widespread democracy protests and stamp out dissent.

Richardson has previously negotiated the release of prisoners and US servicemen in North Korea, Cuba, Iraq and Sudan and has recently sought to free US-affiliated inmates in Venezuela.

The former UN ambassador said he was hopeful he had brokered a deal for a resumption of visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross to prisons – which have been filled with political prisoners.

Richardson, declining to give further details, said the State Department asked him not to raise Fenster’s case during his visit. (Source: CNA)