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Amnesty International Calls on Myanmar Junta to Drop Charges Against Detained Journalists

FILE - Pro-democracy protesters and a journalist run as riot police officers advance them during a rally against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb. 27, 2021.

Amnesty International is calling on Myanmar’s military junta to immediately drop all charges against journalists who have been detained since the February 1 coup.

The human rights organization said Thursday the “ongoing persecution, intimidation, harassment and violence” that journalists are facing is a clear attempt by military authorities “to suppress peaceful dissent and obscure violations committed by security forces.”

Amnesty’s demand includes all journalists in pre-trial detention, bail, or those with outstanding warrants “solely for carrying out their work and the peaceful exercise of their human rights.”

Myanmar’s military has said that authorities arrest only journalists inciting unrest.

Amnesty says 88 journalists have been arrested since the military overthrew the civilian government, citing figures from the independent monitoring board Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma, with more than half still in detention.

Those held include American Danny Fenster, the managing editor of news magazine Frontier Myanmar, who was detained Monday at the main Yangon International Airport while preparing to board a flight to Malaysia. He was transferred to Yangon's Insein Prison.

Frontier Myanmar publishes in both English and Burmese and is one of the country's top independent news sites.