American Journalist Danny Fenster Released from Myanmar Prison, US Bound

Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty

MYANMAR, November 15, 2021 ~ Michigan-born American journalist Danny Fenster was released from a Myanmar prison Monday, into the custody of Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. This follows 176 days of imprisonment for alleged crimes against the military-led republic.

Just days ago, Danny was found guilty, and sentenced to hard labor for publishing information that could be harmful to the military, unlawful association with opponents of the military regime, and violation of immigration law. The court gave him 11 years, the maximum possible sentence allowed for the charges. Prior to his release, he was charged with terrorism and sedition, and faced additional sentencing of 20 years per charge.

Outrageously, for five and a half months, he was never granted in-person access to our embassy officials,” said Congressman Andy Levin to 760 WJR’s Kevin Dietz. “There were so many things like that that were ridiculous, unfair. The charges were baseless. But he kept his spirits up.”


November 15, 2021 ~ Congressman Andy Levin talks with Kevin Dietz about Danny Fenster being released.

Fenster is the managing editor of news outlet Frontier Myanmar, though the charges were based on his previous employment with online news organization Myanmar Now, which has since been banned by the ruling military junta. Fenster left Myanmar Now more than six months before the regime carried out a coup, which gave them control of the country, but the court found Fenster guilty anyway.

His brother Bryan was an incredible organizer of the family and everybody. His parents, Buddy and Rose Fenster, of Huntington Woods; … oh my gosh they were just stalwart; … doing everything they could to get Danny out of there,” said Levin. “There are just way too many people to thank, but it was a true team effort, that’s all I can tell you.”

According to US officials, at least 126 journalists and media persons have been detained by the Myanmar military since the coup, and 47 still remain captive.

Myanmar’s military regime must stop using journalists as pawns in their cynical games and release all the other reporters still languishing behind bars on spurious charges,” said Southeast Asia Representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists Shawn Crispin.

Richardson said in a statement that Fenster will be returning to the United States through Qatar over the next two days.