Freed American Journalist Speaks Out

Danny Fenster says he is relieved to be returning to the US from Myanmar
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2021 7:21 AM CST
Freed American Journalist Speaks Out
American journalist Danny Fenster talks to reporters at Doha, Qatar airport, Monday Nov 15, 2021.   (AP Photo/Luis Costa)

American journalist Danny Fenster, who was freed after nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar, expressed relief that he on his way home ahead of his arrival in the United States on Tuesday. “I’m feeling all right physically,” a bearded Fenster, in baggy drawstring pants and a knit hat, told journalists after landing in Doha, Qatar, which he passed through on his way home, per the AP. “It’s just the same privations and things that come with any form of incarceration. ... The longer it drags on, the more worried you are that it’s just never going to end.”

Fenster, who was sentenced last week to 11 years of hard labor, was handed over Monday to former US diplomat Bill Richardson, who helped negotiate the release. He is one of more than 100 journalists, media officials, or publishers who have been detained since the military ousted the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February. Fenster said he was not starved or beaten while in custody and was “happy to be on my way home.” While jailed, Fenster told his lawyer that he believed he had COVID-19, though prison authorities denied that.

Fenster, the managing editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was convicted Friday of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations, and violating visa regulations. Fenster has been in detention since he was arrested at Yangon International Airport on May 24. He was expected to arrive in New York on Tuesday morning. “We are overjoyed that Danny has been released and is on his way home—we cannot wait to hold him in our arms,” his family said in a statement. (Read more Myanmar stories.)

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