Myanmar journalist Danny Fenster released from jail after six months

Image copyright AFP Image caption Fenster was sentenced to a month in jail for insulting Myanmar’s military An American journalist has been released from jail in Myanmar after serving half his sentence for “insulting”…

Myanmar journalist Danny Fenster released from jail after six months

Image copyright AFP Image caption Fenster was sentenced to a month in jail for insulting Myanmar’s military

An American journalist has been released from jail in Myanmar after serving half his sentence for “insulting” the military.

Danny Fenster of the AFP news agency had been held since October, accused of posting photos on social media which some saw as critical of the army.

His trial and six-month jail sentence infuriated US officials, who said Myanmar’s human rights record had gone backwards.

But after a lenient sentence, a prison official said Mr Fenster was free to go.

Mr Fenster had been charged with violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act after the photos he posted showed soldiers abusing people with mental disability in Ministhta township, on the border with Bangladesh.

The pictures had been accompanied by commentary, which some saw as a criticism of the Myanmar military, which has been accused of violent reprisals in its ethnic conflicts.

Mr Fenster was handed a six-month sentence, a sentence that was reduced to an additional four weeks after accepting responsibility for his actions.

An official at Minbar prison in Yangon said Mr Fenster would be allowed to go.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Danny Fenster was released from Minbar prison in Yangon

Amnesty International said his release was “a small but positive step” towards better rights protection in Myanmar.

But President Htin Kyaw, who is from the military and was jailed for up to 30 years for dissident activity, said in a speech this week that Myanmar’s human rights situation had been improving.

“Every year I am surprised at how much improvement we have made in the last five years,” he said.

“But when people see our lives improve, they come out of poverty.”

The US embassy in Yangon also welcomed Mr Fenster’s release, saying it “very much appreciated” the efforts of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to reform the country’s laws.

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