The State Department has demanded the release of an American journalist in Myanmar

“We are deeply concerned about the arrest of Daniel Fenster, a U.S. citizen working as a journalist in Burma,” a State Department spokesman said Friday. “We put pressure on the military to release him immediately and will continue to do so until he is allowed to return home safely to his family.”

Fenster, 37, originally from Detroit, works for Frontier Myanmar, a news site in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

A State Department spokeswoman said consular officials at the U.S. embassy “tried to meet with Daniel but have not yet been told by government officials.”

“We urge the Burmese government to provide consular access to the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs without delay, and to ensure that Daniel receives proper treatment in the event of his arrest,” the spokesman said.

“Free and independent media is essential to building a prosperous, flexible and independent society,” the spokesman said. “The detention of Daniel Fenster and the arrest of other journalists by the Burmese army and the use of violence are unacceptable attacks on freedom of expression in Burma.”

Republican Andy Levin, Michigan Democrat, Tweeted Friday“Yesterday, I spoke with @StateDep, Burma’s ambassador to the United States and our ambassador to Burma. Danny Fenster’s immediate and unconditional release is the first priority. Thanks for your call and email.

Frontier Myanmar said in a statement earlier this week that the newspaper did not know why Fenster was arrested and added: “We are concerned for his well-being and call for his immediate release. Our priorities are now that he is safe and he is needed To provide necessary assistance. “

Frontier Myanmar also learned that Fanster had been transferred to Insen Prison near Yangon. Insein is one of the most notorious prisons in the country, known for its deplorable condition.

Feinster’s brother, Brian Feinster, said earlier this week that the family did not know much about his brother’s condition.

“I can only assume that he was a journalist in a country run by the army that he wanted to control. He was flagged as a journalist at the airport. I can’t imagine why,” he said. “He had valid work documents, valid visas, passports, everything. He had voluntarily left the country to visit his family, so we don’t understand what happened.”

He said his brother was going to the United States to surprise his parents, whom he had not seen in more than two years. The family was concerned about the security of becoming a journalist in Myanmar after the military coup in February, and Brian called it a “nightmare” after hearing the news of his detention.

The arrest comes almost four months after Myanmar’s military seized power in a seat on February 1, the fall of a democratically elected government. Aung San Suu Kyi And detaining government officials. The junta has a security force Almost daily protests were brutally suppressed More than 820 people have been killed and more than 400 arrested across the country, according to the Allied Organization for Political Prisoners.

The junta has sought to silence the country’s media by revoking independent publishing and broadcasting licenses, raiding newspaper offices and targeting journalists. According to the reporting agency, 85 of the thousands arrested were journalists.

Fenster is one of many foreign journalists arrested after the beating.

CNN’s Johnny Hallam and Sharif Page contributed to this report.


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