The Myanmar government has accused an American journalist of sedition and terrorism.

The%20Myanmar%20government%20has%20accused%20an%20American%20journalist%20of%20sedition%20and%20terrorism.
source: guardian.com

The Myanmar government has accused an American journalist of sedition and terrorism.

Danny Fenster, who was arrested in May while trying to leave the Asian country, was charged with two counts under Section 50 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 124 (a) of the Penal Code.

His lawyer told AFP on Wednesday that an American journalist detained months ago by the Myanmar junta was charged with terrorism and sedition and could face life in prison.

Danny Fenster, who was arrested while trying to leave the Asian country in May, was charged with "two counts under section 50 (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Law and 124 (a) of the Penal Code," said his lawyer, Than Zaw Aung.

Burmese anti-terrorism law provides for a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The trial is set to begin on November 16.

Fenster, 37, is already facing charges against the military for inciting dissent, conspiracy and violating immigration law, and is being held in Rangoon's Ansin prison.

"He's very thin," the lawyer said.

He added that Fenster was "disappointed" by the new charges, which were filed on Tuesday.

The new charges were filed shortly after former US diplomat Bill Richardson, a hostage negotiator, met with the board's chief, Min Aung Hlaing, in the capital Naipyido, providing some publicity for the isolated junta.

Richardson, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, said he hoped an agreement had been reached to resume Red Cross visits to Burmese prisons full of political prisoners.

Richardson said the State Department asked him not to raise Fenster's case during his visit, although he did not elaborate.

- Repression of the press -

Fenster's relatives said in August that the journalist may have contracted COVID-19 during his arrest.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military took power on February 1, overthrowing the elected government led de facto by Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to a local monitoring group, more than 1,200 people have died in the security forces' crackdown on dissidents.

The board has also tightened control over the press, limiting the flow of information and access to the internet while revoking some local media licenses.

Several journalists critical of the military government were among those released by the junta in October during a pardon for a Buddhist festival.

More than 100 journalists have been detained since the uprising, according to the ASEAN Monitoring Group.

The coup ended the brief democracy experiment. Former civilian ruler Suu Kyi now faces a wave of court charges in a junta court that could land her in prison for decades.