Metro Detroit reporter Danny Fenster faces new charges of illegal associations in Myanmar
The wheels of justice are moving slowly for a reporter from Metro Detroit who has been in a Burmese prison for more than four months.
Metro Detroit reporter Danny Fenster, who has been locked in a Myanmar prison since late May when he tried to return to we, now faces additional charges of violating that country’s Illegal Associations Act.
“We just want a timeline. We don’t have that. So all we can do is hope that he is in person in court and that they can move this matter forward. —Bryan Fenster, brother of Danny Fenster
Fenster, 37, is accused of associating with people working against the Myanmar government. The military took control of the previously Democratic country earlier this year. He has had several hearings, but little progress in resolving his case.
Fenster’s brother Bryan says the new charges don’t affect Danny’s situation much.
“There is no change in this charge per se. This somewhat broadens the range of options for the Burmese authorities, ”he said.
A judge announced the new charge Monday during Fenster’s hearing at Insein Prison Court in Yangon, where he is being held. Fenster’s attorney said he had not received further details.
The accusation of illegal associations has been widely used against rebel ethnic groups seeking greater autonomy. Supporters and even journalists contacting such groups have also been prosecuted.
Fenster has previously been charged with incitement, also known as sedition, for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information. This offense is punishable by up to three years in prison.
He is one of some 100 journalists jailed since the Burmese army took control of the country earlier this year. He was the editor of Frontier Myanmar online and was trying to get back to we when he was arrested in May.
A quick resolution would be ideal, says Bryan Fenster.
“You really have the impression of wearing concrete shoes. And it is so hard to say because each case is unique in Myanmar. And that’s all we want. We just want a timeline. We don’t have that. So all we can do is have hope that he is in person in court and that they can move this case forward, ”he said.
Since his incarceration, Bryan Fenster says his brother has had a roller coaster of emotions. “He has the right to feel bad. He’s going to have good days and bad days. We all are and we are just thankful that he is in great shape right now.
The US State Department and the Committee to Protect Journalists are working to secure Fenster’s release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.