U.S. Journalist Danny Fenster Faces New Charges of Sedition, Terrorism in Myanmar

American journalist Danny Fenster faces new criminal charges in Myanmar that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, his lawyer said on Nov. 10.

Fenster’s lawyer Than Zaw Aung told CNN that military-ruled Myanmar has charged Fenster with sedition and terrorism — the most serious charges against him so far.

According to Aung, the Yangon courthouse filed the sedition charge under Section 124a of Myanmar’s Penal Code, which mandates a prison sentence of seven to 20 years for attempts to bring hatred, contempt or disaffection towards the government.

The terrorism charge is under Section 50a of the Counter Terrorism Law, which criminalizes having contact with officially designated “terrorist” groups.

If convicted, Fenster could face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, Aung said.

It has not been made immediately clear why the new charges were brought against Fenster.

Trials and hearings are held in military-run courts inside prisons — where the public and the media are barred from — instead of civilian courts.

Fenster now faces a total of five separate charges, including allegedly encouraging dissent against the military, unlawful association with an illegal group, and breaching immigration law.

Fenster has been held in the Insein prison in Yangon since authorities arrested him at the international airport in the city on May 24 when he was trying to leave the country to see his family in the U.S.

Fenster, who has worked for about a year at the English-language news magazine and website Frontier Myanmar, is one of about 100 journalists detained since the military staged a coup in February.

The military has also revoked independent publishing and broadcasting licenses, as well as raided newspaper offices since February.

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