The United States has asked Myanmar’s military leadership to immediately release an American journalist who was arrested while trying to leave the country, saying he was “deeply concerned” about the affair.
Danny Fenster, the editor-in-chief of Frontier Myanmar, an English-language news publication, was arrested on Monday at Yangon International Airport before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur.
A U.S. State Department spokesman said consular officers from his embassy in Yangon were not allowed to visit Fenster in violation of the Vienna Convention.
“Daniel’s detention, and the arrest and use of violence by him [Myanmar] military against other journalists, constitutes an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression, ”the spokesman said.
The move by Myanmar’s military regime has escalated tensions with the United States since Washington led international efforts to impose sanctions on the junta later. shot down the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February.
Frontier said Fenster had been transferred to Insein Prison, a famous facility near Yangon known for housing poor political prisoners.
“We don’t know why Danny was arrested and they couldn’t contact him this morning,” Frontier said. “We are concerned for his well-being and demand his immediate release.”
According to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (Burma), Fenster is one of two foreigners who have been arrested since the shooting and remain in detention.
Sean Turnell, an Australian academic who served as economic adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi, has been arrested and charged with violating Myanmar’s official secret act. Yuki Kitazumi, a Japanese freelance journalist, was arrested and jailed in April, after being released and deported to Japan earlier this month.
Journalists, including those working for foreign outlets such as the BBC and Al Jazeera, were among those detained by the junta, which blocked social media sites and revoked operating permits for media groups. in an effort to silence the signaling of post-conflict civilization. Many they fled in hiding or in exile to avoid arrest.
According to AAPP, 4,331 people who have been arrested since the army took power are in detention or have been convicted.
The U.S. embassy in Yangon said it has not been able to provide more details about Fenster “for privacy reasons.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a group of watchdogs, this week called on authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release” Fenster and allow him to travel freely outside the country.
“The illegal restriction of a foreign journalist’s freedom of movement is the latest serious threat to press freedom in Myanmar,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. According to the group, more than 40 media workers are being held in Myanmar.
Amnesty International said Fenster’s arrest was “a reminder of how the media in Myanmar were targeted for trying to expose the human rights violations committed by the army in this ruthless repression”.
Washington has imposed it sanctions against Chief Min Aung Hlaing and other military veterans, as well as the companies they and their family members control.
The United States in March blue Non-essential government personnel and their families to leave Myanmar while the regime’s crackdown on protests has gained strength.