When he left a car outside an airport hotel, Fenster’s mother rushed over to hug him, as did his brother and father.
Late Monday, as Fenster walked through Qatar, he told reporters he was physically okay and had not been starved or beaten while in custody. While in jail, he had told his lawyer that he thought he had COVID-19, even though the prison authorities denied it.
Fenster, managing editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was convicted Friday to spread false or inflammatory information, contact illegal organizations and violate visa rules. Days before his sentencing, he learned that he had been charged with further offenses that put him in danger of a life sentence.
“It feels great to have Danny back home. It’s worth the effort, worth everything we did,” said Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico and former ambassador to the United Nations who helped negotiate his release through his fund.
Fenster’s mother, Rose, described the ordeal as a “nightmare” and the family expressed relief that it was over.
It “feels great, he’s sure, that’s all we want,” said his father, Buddy.
Window – in a knit hat, which he said was a gift from another prisoner – joked that the first thing he would do was be shaved and cut.
Window has been jailed since he was arrested at Yangon International Airport on May 24.
The exact allegations against him were never clear, but much of the prosecution’s case appeared to depend on evidence that he was employed by another online news site that was ordered closed this year during repression of the mediaafter the military takeover. Window used to work for the place, but left that job last year.
Windows, a resident of the Detroit area, holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Wayne State University and worked for a Louisiana newspaper before moving to Southeast Asia, according to Deadline Detroit, a news site to which he occasionally contributed.
His brother, Bryan, has said he was particularly interested in the situation of people from the Rohingya Muslim minority, hundreds of thousands of whom fled Myanmar during a brutal 2017 rebel campaign.
The generals in Myanmar “were convinced it was not worth hanging on to Danny,” the U.S. rep. Andy Levin of Michigan, representing the Fenster family in Congress, to Detroit radio station WWJ. “If they kept him and something really happened to him, we would never forget it. We would never forgive them. “
Richardson is known for traveling to nations with which Washington has poor, if any, connections – such as North Korea – to gain freedom for detained Americans.
He also has a long history of involvement in Myanmar, starting in 1994, when as a member of Congress he met Suu Kyi at her home, where she had been under house arrest ordered by a former military government.
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