On Friday Danny Fenster, an American journalist, has been jailed for 11 years by a court in military-ruled Myanmar .
Fenster’s lawyer and his employer confirmed the development, dealing a blow to U.S. efforts to secure his release.
Fenster, 37, managing editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was jailed after being found guilty of incitement and violations of immigration and unlawful associations laws.
However, his magazine described the sentences imposed as “the harshest possible under the law”.
He is the first Western journalist to be jailed in recent years in Myanmar, where a Feb. 1 coup by the military against Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government ended a decade of tentative steps towards democracy and triggered a nationwide backlash.
“There is absolutely no basis to convict Danny of these charges,” said Thomas Kean, editor-in-chief of Frontier Myanmar, one of the country’s top independent news outlets.
“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.”
Fenster was arrested while trying to leave the country in May and has since been held in Yangon’s notorious Insein prison.
His family has repeatedly called for his release.
He was charged with additional and more serious offenses of sedition and violations of the terrorism act earlier this week, without an explanation by authorities. Those charges are punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison each.