A court in military-ruled Myanmar has sentenced US journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in prison after finding him guilty on several charges, including incitement for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information, according to the Associated Press. He was also found guilty of contacting illegal organisations and violating visa regulations, his lawyer said.
The managing editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar is the only foreign journalist to be convicted of a serious crime since the army seized power in February, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. He faces two additional charges in a different court for allegedly violating the counterterrorism law and a statute covering treason and sedition.
Fenster was detained at Yangon International Airport on May 24 as he was about to board a flight to go to Detroit in the United States to see his family.
The hearings on the original three charges have been held at the court in Yangon's Insein Prison, where Fenster is jailed. They were closed to the press and the public. Accounts of the proceedings have come from Fenster's lawyer.
The military-installed government has cracked down hard on press freedom, shutting virtually all critical outlets and arresting about 100 journalists, roughly 30 of whom remain in jail. Some of the closed outlets have continued operating without a license, publishing online as their staff members dodge arrest.
The army takeover was met by widespread peaceful protests that were put down with lethal force. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has detailed the deaths of more than 1,200 civilians, in addition to about 10,000 arrests.
Armed resistance has since spread, and UN experts and others observers fear the incipient insurgency can slide into civil war.