American journalist Danny Fenster is released from prison in Myanmar

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American journalist Danny Fenster has been released from prison in Myanmar, according to a Myanmar military official and former New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, who made a private humanitarian visit to the country.

Fenster’s release comes just days after the former editor-in-chief of Frontier Myanmar – an independent news outlet covering current affairs, business and politics – was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a military court in Myanmar.

Myanmar military spokesman Zaw Min Tun told CNN Business that the journalist “was released and deported. We will divulge details of why he was released later.”

According to a statement released by Richardson on Monday (15), Fenster will be in the United States “through Qatar, in the next day and a half”.

Former US ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson said he conducted face-to-face negotiations with Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of Myanmar’s military junta.

Fenster’s family said they were “very happy” with his release.

“We can’t wait to hug him,” they said in a statement. “We are immensely grateful to all those who helped secure his release, especially Ambassador Richardson, as well as our friends and the public who expressed their opinion supported and stood by us as we endured these long and difficult months.”

Fenster, 37, from Detroit, Michigan, was arrested at Yangon International Airport on May 24 while trying to leave the country to visit his family in the United States.

He was denied bail and held in Insein Prison in Yangon. On Friday (12), he was found guilty of three charges brought against him by the Myanmar military, which took control of the country in a February 1 coup.

These allegations have included visa violations, illegal association with an illegal group and incitement under section 505 of the Myanmar Penal Code, which makes it a crime to publish or circulate comments that “cause fear” or spread “false news”.

Sonny Swe, editor, CEO and co-founder of Frontier Myanmar, former Fenster employer in Myanmar, told CNN Business by phone that Fenster was already on a plane, having left Insein’s prison earlier in the day.

“I am very, very pleased with the news. Not just our happiness, I’ve been there, I know how Danny and his family will be feeling now,” Swe said. “From this point onwards, everything is positive. He deserves to be reunited with his family.”

Fenster was one of about 126 journalists and media workers detained since the coup, according to the UN. About 47 remain behind bars.

Translated text. Read the original in English.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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