American Journalist Detained In Myanmar While Trying To Board Flight Out Of Country

LONDON — According to his boss and relatives, an American Journalist Detained working in Myanmar has been arrested by local authorities.

Danny Fenster, the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, Yangon-based news and business publication that publishes in both English and Burmese in print and online, was detained at Yangon International Airport in Myanmar’s largest city as he prepared to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, according to a statement released Monday. Since then, he has been moved to Yangon’s Insein Jail, which has held thousands of political detainees.

“We haven’t been able to reach Danny since this morning so we don’t know why he was detained,” Frontier Myanmar said. “We are anxious about his safety and demand that he be released immediately. Right now, our main concerns are ensuring his safety and providing him with whatever assistance he may need.”

According to friends, Fenster, a 37-year-old Detroit native, was preparing to visit his family in the United States.

Bryan Fenster, Dan’s brother, wrote on Facebook, “We’re utterly shocked and deeply perplexed as to why Dan was detained.”

Amy Kurzweil, his cousin, wrote on Facebook, “We love him and are worried for his welfare.”

According to a spokeswoman for the US Department of State, the US is “aware of news” of an American detained in Myanmar.

lgnews-American-Journalist-Detained2In a statement to ABC News on Monday, the spokesperson said, “We take seriously our duty to support U.S. people overseas, and we are monitoring the situation.” “We have no further comment due to privacy concerns.”

Since the military took power in an apparent coup on Feb. 1, ousting the civilian-led government and ending a decade of gradual democratization in Myanmar, a host of journalists, both local and international, have been jailed. For nearly 50 years, a military junta controlled the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

More than 4,300 people are in custody, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group headquartered in Yangon that maintains a thorough tally of arrests and deaths following the junta’s takeover, including 96 who have already been jailed. Another 824 people have been injured, including children and several demonstrators.

Since February, Fenster is suspected to be the fourth foreign journalist arrested in Myanmar. Nathan Maung, editor-in-chief of local news outlet Kamayut Media and another American journalist working in Myanmar, is being detained at Insein Prison.

lgnews-American-Journalist-Detained3Fenster’s release has been demanded by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based press freedom organization.

“Myanmar authorities must release Frontier Myanmar managing editor Danny Fenster immediately and unconditionally, allowing him to fly openly outside the country” The Committee to Protect Journalists’ senior Southeast Asia delegate, Shawn Crispin, said in a statement on Monday. “The current grave danger to Myanmar’s press freedom is the illegal suspension of a foreign journalist’s freedom of travel.”

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