Frontier Myanmar’s editor in chief, Thomas Kean, said there was absolutely no basis to convict Mr. Fenster of these charges.
“His legal team clearly demonstrated to the court that he had resigned from Myanmar Now and was working for Frontier from the middle of last year,” he said. “Everyone at Frontier is disappointed and frustrated at this decision,” he added. “We just want to see Danny released as soon as possible so he can go home to his family.”
Understanding the Chaos in Myanmar
Amnesty International declared Mr. Fenster a prisoner of conscience and called for him to be freed immediately and unconditionally.
“His liberty was taken away from him cruelly and unjustly, solely for doing his work as a journalist and exercising his right to freedom of speech,” the rights group said.
Mr. Fenster, a native of Detroit, worked for news outlets there and in Louisiana before moving to Myanmar in 2019. Bryan Fenster, his brother, said that the two of them, both grandsons of Holocaust survivors, had once done volunteer work in Chicago helping a family of refugees from Myanmar, which may have influenced his decision to live there.
Myanmar’s military, which had shared power for a decade with civilian governments before the Feb. 1 coup, has since staged a violent crackdown, killing more than 1,250 people and detaining more than 7,000. At least 126 journalists, publishers or media officials have been arrested by the military, and 47 of them are still in prison, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said in a statement decrying Mr. Fenster’s conviction and harsh sentence.
“Myanmar has quickly reverted to an environment of information control, censorship and propaganda seen under military regimes in the past,” she said. “I urge the military authorities to immediately release all journalists being detained in relation to their work.”