A year and a half after he was arrested in Myanmar, U.S. journalist Danny Fenster is freed from prison.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that the United States and Myanmar announced a pardon for Fenster, who was arrested in February 2016 and accused of “spreading false information.”
Fenster, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist, spent more than a year in prison, where he was regularly tortured. He tweeted a thank you to his fans, friends and fellow prisoners, thanking President Trump and Vice President Pence for their support.
The news that he was freed quickly became one of the top trending topics on Twitter.
Congratulations to @sgtdannyfenster. This incredible American journalist was long denied due process & now freed from prison for his courageous reporting. pic.twitter.com/T2Ap7vfSFu — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 27, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with @sgtdannyfenster and his family tonight. The brave work of this journalist and others in Myanmar, like Kristin Barnett, must not be ignored. He is just one of thousands in Myanmar who have been victimized for revealing the truth about the atrocities being committed by the military. — Tom Perez (@TomPerez) December 27, 2017
Other international journalists and media outlets expressed support, including the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Sorry to hear about @sgtdannyfenster, who is being released after his unjust detention in Myanmar. We always knew he’d be released someday. #FreeDanny #FreeJournos — Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) December 27, 2017
Brave journalist Danny Fenster is out of jail in Myanmar. The Myanmar junta is finally learning its lesson about not being able to hide behind a firewall to censor the truth. https://t.co/WkhDGAdRip — Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 27, 2017
The #FreeJediJack campaign is now #FreeDannyFenster. This is why we need more of our media to do their job and question the Myanmar government about the treatment of 1.6 million Rohingya. https://t.co/wQPwlrDJJu — Chloe R. Coffey (@chloerecoffey) December 27, 2017
Oh…my. Go figure. Dannydaddy is released in Myanmar. He’s been a brilliant, fearless, brave journalist for nearly three years. The possibility of his freedom is a small miracle.
Earlier this month, I told the story of Fenster during the current USC Shoah Foundation Testimony series at USC Annenberg.
Sharing the harrowing story with You, in short, was a huge step forward in gaining Fenster’s freedom, testified New York Times reporter Andrew Neiderman, who was working with Fenster in Myanmar.
As he prepared to leave Myanmar and to come to the United States, Neiderman shared a phone call he received from Fenster in which the reporter did not seem suicidal.
On “America’s Newsroom” this morning, Neiderman shared with Martha MacCallum that they had done “innumerable hours” of talking on the phone, asking him about the prison where he was being held.
As news of Fenster’s release went viral, Neiderman said it felt like “something very true happened to him” at least a year ago.
“All of that became secondary to the truth that finally came out, the truth that he would be released,” Neiderman said.
Watch more above.
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