Danny Fenster, a Jewish-American journalist and son of Holocaust survivors who was sentenced by a Myanmar court on Friday to 11 years in prison with hard labor, has been released, CNN reported on Monday.
A spokesman for Myanmar’s military told CNN that Fenster “has been released and deported. We will release details why he was released later.”
Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who was on a private humanitarian visit to the country, accompanied Fenster on a flight headed to Qatar on Monday. Earlier, he released a statement saying that Fenster will be traveling back to the US “through Qatar, over the next day and a half.”
Richardson, a former US ambassador to the UN, said that he held face-to-face negotiations, with Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of Myanmar’s military junta.
“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,” Richardson said in a statement.
“We cannot wait to hold him in our arms,” Fenster’s family stated. “We are tremendously grateful to all the people who have helped secure his release, especially Ambassador Richardson, as well as our friends and the public who have expressed their support and stood by our sides as we endured these long and difficult months.”
Fenster is one of dozens of journalists detained in Mynamar since the February 1 military coup.
“We are relieved that Danny is finally out of prison – somewhere he never should have been in the first place,” said Thomas Kean, the editor-in-chief of Frontier Myanmar, the online magazine at which Fenster served as managing editor. “But we also recognize Danny is one of many journalists in Myanmar who have been unjustly arrested simply for doing their job since the February coup.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)