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Former New Iberia journalist appears in Myanmar court

danny fenster.jpg
Posted at 12:01 PM, Jun 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-20 13:02:11-04

CNN reports that Danny Fenster, a US journalist who was detained in Myanmar over three weeks ago, has appeared at a court in Yangon according to Frontier Myanmar, the news publication Fenster works for as managing editor.

The 37-year-old was detained by Myanmar's military at Yangon International Airport on May 24, shortly before he could board a flight to Kuala Lumpur. The journalist had been on the way to see his family in Detroit, CNN reports.

He had not been heard from in the 25 days since his detention, CNN reports.

He has ties to Acadiana; Fenster wrote for The Daily Iberian and briefly for The Current before moving to Southeast Asia. He joined Frontier Myanmar in August 2020.

    Fenster, who on Thursday appeared at a special court in Yangon's Insein prison, has been charged under section 505a of Myanmar's penal code, which carries a potential three-year prison term, according to Frontier Myanmar.

      The section makes it a crime to publish or circulate comments that "cause fear," spread "false news" or incite government employees. Dozens of journalists in the country have been charged under the section since the military seized power in March.

        Myanmar's former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was removed from power during the coup, which was followed by a widespread and brutal military crackdown on dissent.
        "Following a brief hearing, Danny was remanded to Insein Prison for two weeks and is scheduled to appear again in court on July 1. No reason was given for the filing of the charge against him," Frontier Myanmar said in a statement on its website.

          "Nevertheless, we know that Danny has done nothing to warrant this 505a charge. We condemn his detention and demand his immediate and unconditional release."
          To read the rest of CNN's story, including an interview with Fenster's brother, click here.