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Popular Journalist Bags 11-Year Jail Sentence

A US journalist detained in Myanmar has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

A military court convicted Danny Fenster, the journalist, on a three-count charge of breaching immigration law, unlawful association and incitement to sedition, on Friday.

The 37-year-old faces further charge of terrorism and sedition that were added on Wednesday and could see him handed a life sentence, according to his lawyer.

Those counts will be heard separately at an upcoming trial.

The military junta in Myanmar has been cracking down on critical voices since it took power in a coup in February.

Fenster, who has been detained for over five months, is a senior editor of the English-language Frontier Myanmar magazine.

He was arrested at Yangon airport May ending, just before he was due to board a flight to the United States.

He has since been held at Insein Prison, which is notorious for its appalling conditions.

“Everyone at Frontier is disappointed and frustrated at this decision. We just want to see Danny released as soon as possible so he can go home to his family,’’ Frontier Myanmar’s chief executive Thomas Kean said.

Myanmar’s military ousted de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the coup on Feb. 1, the 76-year-old is under house arrest and facing trial for various alleged offences.

The military junta is suppressing resistance with brutal force; more than 1,200 people have been killed, according to an estimate from prisoners’ aid organisation AAPP.

About 10,000 others have been arrested, including many journalists, and others have fled the country.

Foreign media representatives have long been considered relatively safe.

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