U.S. demands immediate release of U.S. journalists in Myanmar

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The United States called on the Burmese military government to immediately release an American journalist who was detained for trying to leave the country, saying it was “deeply concerned” about the matter.

Danny Fenster, the editor-in-chief of the English news publication Frontier Myanmar, was detained at Yangon International Airport on Monday. He will then board a flight to Kuala Lumpur.

A spokesperson for the US State Department stated that consular officials of the US Embassy in Yangon were not allowed to visit Finster, which violated the Vienna Convention.

“Daniel’s detention, and arrest and use of violence [Myanmar] The military’s targeting of other journalists constitutes an unacceptable attack on freedom of speech,” the spokesperson said.

The actions of the Burmese military government intensified tensions with the United States because Washington led the international community’s efforts to impose sanctions on the military government. overthrow In February, the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Frontier said that Fenster has been transferred to Insein Prison, a notorious prison near Yangon, known for housing political prisoners in poor conditions.

“We don’t know why Danny was detained, and he could not be contacted this morning,” Borderland said. “We are worried about his health and call for his immediate release.”

According to the Political Prisoners Aid Association (Myanmar), Finster is one of two foreigners arrested and still detained since the coup.

Australian scholar Sean Turnell, who had served as Aung San Suu Kyi’s economic adviser, was arrested and charged with violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. Japanese freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi was arrested and imprisoned in April, and was released earlier this month and deported to Japan.

Journalists, including those working for foreign media such as the BBC and Al Jazeera, were detained by the military government, which blocked social media sites and revoked the operating license of the media group to suppress reports on civilians after the coup. conflict.a lot of Already escaped Hide or exile to avoid arrest.

according to application, 4,331 people arrested since the army seized power were detained or sentenced.

The US Embassy in Yangon stated that it was unable to provide more details about Fenster “for privacy reasons.”

The watchdog committee to protect journalists this week called on the authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release” Fenster and allow him to travel freely abroad.

“Illegal restrictions on the freedom of movement of foreign journalists are the latest serious threat to the freedom of the press in Myanmar,” said Sean Crispin, senior representative of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in Southeast Asia. According to the organization, more than 40 media workers are being held in Myanmar.

Amnesty International stated that Fenster’s arrest was “a reminder of how the Burmese media was targeted by the military for trying to expose human rights violations by the military in this relentless repression”.

Washington has imposed Sanctions Oppose the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and other senior military figures, as well as companies controlled by them and their families.

America in March Order As the regime’s suppression of protests increased, non-essential government personnel and their families left Myanmar.

Follow John Reid and Katrina Manson on Twitter @JohnReedwrites with @Katrina Manson



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