Frontier Myanmar’s managing editor Danny Fenster today appeared in a special court in Yangon’s Insein Prison to face a charge under section 505-A of the Penal Code, which carries a potential three-year prison term.
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.
Danny was represented at the hearing by lawyer U Than Zaw Aung. Representatives from Frontier were not given permission to attend. We are still seeking information on the reason for Danny’s arrest and continued detention.
Nevertheless, we know that Danny has done nothing to warrant this 505-A charge. We condemn his detention and demand his immediate and unconditional release.
A 37-year-old American citizen, Danny was detained on May 24 at Yangon International Airport shortly before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Danny joined Frontier in August 2020 and is a vital member of our editorial team, which has provided important reporting on events in Myanmar both before and after the February 1 military takeover.
We are shocked and frustrated that he has been detained for no apparent reason, and are concerned for his wellbeing. We are doing what we can to support him, as well as his family and friends, until he is freed.
The 505-A charge was introduced to the Penal Code through an amendment on February 14 and has been widely used against journalists, activists and social media users.
It targets anyone who “causes or intends to cause fear to a group of citizens or to the public”, “causes or intends to spread false news, knowing or believing that it is untrue”, or “causes or intends to commit or to agitate directly or indirectly criminal offence against a Government employee, any kind of Government employees or Government employees”.
Those convicted face a prison term of up to three years, a fine, or both.