World Teen - Main Article
 
Signup Teachers & Parents
Journalist Freed in Myanmar
News Bytes 11/17/2021 12 Comments

American Danny Fenster is free. He spent nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar. The journalist arrived in the United States yesterday for an emotional reunion with his family.

Fenster has been in detention since being arrested at Yangon International Airport on May 24. He is managing editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar. Fenster faced charges of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations, and violating visa regulations.

Days before his conviction, Fenster learned he had been charged with additional violations. Those put him at risk of a life sentence. He received his sentence from a Myanmar court last Friday: 11 years of hard labor.

U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson helped negotiate Fenster’s release. The two arrived in New York Tuesday morning.

Fenster is one of more than 100 journalists, media officials, or publishers who have been detained by Myanmar officials. The detentions have occurred since the military ousted the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February. (See Aung San Suu Kyi: A Life on Trial.)

Bryan Fenster, the journalist’s brother, says Danny has been particularly interested in the plight of people from the Muslim Rohingya minority. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Myanmar during a brutal campaign by the army in 2017. (See Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar.)

“I’m feeling all right physically,” Fenster told journalists after landing in Doha, Qatar, en route to the United States.

Fenster says he was not starved or beaten while in custody. While jailed, Fenster told his lawyer that he believed he had COVID-19. Myanmar prison authorities deny that.

“It’s just the same privations [hardships] and things that come with any form of incarceration,” Fenster says. “The longer it drags on, the more worried you are that it’s just never going to end.”

In New York, Fenster—with long hair and an unruly beard poking out from his blue surgical mask—says the first thing he’ll do is get a shave and a haircut. He wore a knit hat that he says was a gift from another prisoner.

“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 says.

The exact charges against Fenster were never clear. Much of the prosecution’s case involved proving that he worked for another online news site. That one was shuttered this year during the media crackdown following the military coup. Fenster was employed there previously, but he left that job last year.

Fenster’s mother described her son’s ordeal as a “nightmare.” The family expressed relief that it was over.

“He’s safe, that’s all we want,” his father, Buddy, says.

Fenster says it “feels incredible” to be home. It’s been a “long time coming, a moment I had been imagining so intensely for so long. Surpasses everything I had imagined.”

The generals in Myanmar “were convinced that it wasn’t worth it to hang on to Danny,” says U.S. Representative Andy Levin of Michigan. He represents the Fenster family in Congress. “If they kept him and anything really happened to him, we would never forget it. We would never forgive them.”

If you, Lord, were to keep account of guilty deeds, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. — Psalm 130:3-4 (NASB)

Evaluate Levin’s comments in light of what the Bible says about forgiveness. What other verses can you think of that deal with forgiving others? Does forgiveness between individuals also translate the same way to national entities such as leaders and governments, put in place to protect their citizens from harm?

(Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson, right, poses with journalist Danny Fenster in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, on Monday, November 15, 2021. The Richardson Center via AP)

Leave a comment
  • Keep comments on topic and related to the subject matter of the article. (Off-topic comments will be deleted.)
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

What a great story that he

What a great story that he got freed.

First comment!

I wonder if he actually did

I wonder if he actually did those things to be put in jail.

I'm not sure if he did those

I'm not sure if he did those things.

4th

journalism is tuff

also I'm new hello

also I'm new hello

@Amari H

Yo, and welcome.

@Amari

Hello! Welcome to WorldTeen! It's pretty fun around here!
One verse about forgiveness is the one where Jesus talks about forgiving your brother seventy times seven times.

I'm back!!

I'm back!!
Awww! That's awesome!

@Amari H

How did you find out about this? Are you someones friend who told you about it? Also, you might see some disagreements between us.. but we aren't really mad at another. We love debating on here, so don't take it for hate. @Jonathan M Please look at my comment from Scorpions unleashed

@Addie L

Hey were you the one that had a Nisan passenger van, like my family?

@Amari H

Hey, and welcome here! I love your name it is so unique!

@Riley D

:) Yes

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login