An American journalist was arrested in Myanmar on Monday while trying to board a plane outside the country, according to his employer.
Danny Fenster, the managing editor at Frontier Myanmar, one of the country’s leading independent news outlets, was stopped while on a flight from Yangon to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Frontier said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“We don’t know why Danny was imprisoned and we haven’t been able to contact him since this morning. We are concerned for his welfare and demand his immediate release, ”it said.
Window is believed to have been taken to Insein Prison, the statement added. The prison is one of the most notorious prisons in the country for political dissidents, according to The Associated Press. The American journalist Nathan Muang is being held here.
The State Department was aware of reports of the detention of a US citizen. “We take our responsibility to support US citizens abroad seriously and are monitoring the situation. For privacy reasons, we have no further comment,” it said.
The US embassy in Yangon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Unrest has rocked the country since February when the military toppled the democratically elected civilian government. Protests and crackdown on demonstrators followed. The Aid Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), A Thailand-based nonprofit estimates that 4,301 people have been arrested by Myanmar authorities and 824 have been killed since the coup.
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The Club of Foreign Correspondents of Thailand appreciated the window was one of over 70 journalists detained in Myanmar since February.
The FCCT welcomed the “brave” work of Fenster at Frontier Myanmar and Myanmar Now, its current and former employers, and condemned the move.
“The arrests of journalists and the violence used by the security forces against people caught trying to report or record their actions constitute an exceptional attack on freedom of expression in Myanmar and should be widely condemned,” it said.
“The FCCT urges all governments to show their support for media freedom in Myanmar by protesting at every opportunity against this and other detention of journalists.”
Window’s family in Michigan followed growing demands for his release.
“On behalf of my family, we are incredibly overwhelmed by the gratitude for support from Danny Fenster from around the world. We are awaiting further information and we continue to urge his immediate release.” said his brother Bryan Fenster on Instagram.
Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., Said his office is in contact with the Fenster family and will be closely monitoring the situation.
“I am concerned that Danny Fenster, a Burma-born journalist from Metro Detroit, was imprisoned today in Yangon, Burma,” said Peters, using the name by which the country was known before its then military rulers in Myanmar Myanmar changed in 1989.
Tatyana Chistikova, Matthew Bodner and Reuters contributed.