US journalist Fenster released from Myanmar jail, editor-in-chief says

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US journalist Danny Fenster was released from jail in military-controlled Myanmar on Monday and was on a flight to leave the country, his employer said, three days after being jailed for 11 years in a decision that drew international condemnation .

Fenster, 37, editor-in-chief of the independent online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was arrested in May and sentenced to prison for incitement and violating the laws on immigration and illegal assemblies.

He was among dozens of media workers detained since the February 1 military coup that sparked nationwide protests and strikes in anger after the abrupt end of a decade of attempts at the democracy in Myanmar.

The circumstances surrounding Fenster’s release were not immediately clear. A spokesperson for Myanmar’s ruling military council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Frontier editor-in-chief Thomas Kean said in a statement: “We are relieved that Danny is finally out of jail – somewhere he never should have been in the first place.”

“But we also recognize that Danny is one of many journalists in Myanmar who have been wrongfully arrested simply for doing their job since the February coup.

He called on the military government to release all journalists imprisoned in Myanmar.

Fenster’s family and the U.S. Embassy in Yangon did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment.

He was the first Western journalist sentenced to prison in recent years in Myanmar, where the coup against the elected government led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi left the country in chaos, the junta struggling to consolidate its power and facing increasing international pressure. .

Human rights groups condemned the Myanmar junta for the court’s conviction, which came days after additional charges of sedition and violating a terrorism law.

The United States had pushed for his release and this weekend condemned the decision as an “unacceptable attack on free speech.”

The ruling junta has not commented on the case since Friday or responded to international criticism, and state media have not reported on it.

(REUTERS)

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