Southeast Asia

Myanmar: Jailed journalist Danny Fenster back in the U.S.

Published : November 17, 2021 16:46 IST

Jailed journalist Danny Fenster hugged his parents and brother on arrival at JFK airport, New York. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/REUTERS

Meanwhile, Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi is facing charges of election fraud.

An American journalist jailed for six months by a Myanmar junta court returned to the United States on November 16. Danny Fenster hugged his parents after landing at New York's JFK airport at about 8 a.m. local time (1300 UTC).

What did Fenster say on arrival?

On arrival Fenster said it felt "incredible" to be reunited with his family. Fenster, who worked for independent online news outlet Frontier Myanmar, was sentenced on November 12 to 11 years in jail over several charges. He arrived back with former diplomat and U.S. Cabinet secretary Bill Richardson, who secured his release from prison on November 15.

Fenster said he planned to briefly celebrate his release with relatives before turning his attention to other journalists and "prisoners of conscience" jailed in Myanmar. "There are a lot of citizens, doctors, teachers that are in prison. This will be a short celebration. Let's keep focused on what the actual story is here," he said.

Myanmar's ousted leader faces prosecution

Fenster returned home as Myanmar's state election commission announced that it is prosecuting the country's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for alleged fraud in the November 2020 general election. She is being prosecuted along with 15 other senior political figures by the Union Election Commission. The announcement was published on November 16 in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper and other official media.

The military has said that widespread electoral fraud allegations were the driving force behind the coup on February 1, which toppled Suu Kyi's government. But independent observers, such as the Asian Network for Free Elections, found no evidence of substantive irregularities in the polls, though they criticized some aspects.

What impact could a prosecution have?

The action by the commission could potentially result in Suu Kyi's party being dissolved and unable to participate in a new election the military has promised will take place within two years of its takeover. A notice from the commission, dated November 15, did not specify which laws would be used to prosecute Suu Kyi.

kmm/wd (AP, AFP)

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