American journalist Danny Fenster, who was recently sentenced to 11 years of hard labor after spending nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar, has been freed and is on his way home, says a former US diplomat who helped negotiate his release.
Fenster, the managing editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was convicted on Friday of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations and violating visa regulations. His sentence was the harshest yet among the seven journalists known to have been convicted since the military ousted the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February.
“This is the day that you hope will come when you do this work,” Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico and past ambassador to the UN, says in a statement emailed by his office. “We are so grateful that Danny will finally be able to reconnect with his loved ones, who have been advocating for him all this time, against immense odds.”
Fenster was handed over to Richardson in Myanmar and will return to the US via Qatar over the next day and a half, according to the statement. He has been in detention since he was taken into custody at Yangon International Airport on May 24 as he was headed to the Detroit area in the United States to see his family.