The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Myanmar frees jailed US journalist Danny Fenster

American journalist Danny Fenster was released from prison on Monday in Myanmar and has left the country, his employer and family said, following negotiations between former US diplomat Bill Richardson and the ruling military junta.

Fenster (37), the managing editor of independent online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday for incitement and violations of laws on immigration and unlawful assembly, a ruling that drew international condemnation.

Fenster left Myanmar on Monday with Mr Richardson on a flight headed to Qatar. The Richardson Center posted a picture on social media of the two of them together about to board the jet.

“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,” Mr Richardson, who visited Myanmar earlier this month, said in a statement.

Fenster was among dozens of media workers detained in Myanmar since a February 1st coup that led to an outpouring of public anger over the military’s abrupt end to a decade of tentative steps towards democracy.

The military has accused many media outlets of incitement and spreading false information.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken commended US officials as well as Mr Richardson for facilitating Fenster’s release.

“We are glad that Danny will soon be reunited with his family as we continue to call for the release of others who remain unjustly imprisoned,” he said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether there were conditions attached to the release of Fenster, who was arrested while trying to leave the country in May. The US embassy in Yangon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for the ruling military council did not immediately respond to a Reuters request. BBC Burmese service said the spokesman confirmed Fenster’s release but provided no further details.

Mr Richardson, a former New Mexico governor, US energy secretary and US ambassador to the United Nations, made the surprise November 2nd visit to Myanmar in a humanitarian capacity, offering Covid-19 assistance.

He is one of only a few foreigners to have met junta leader Min Aung Hlaing in Myanmar since he led the coup. The general is among several under sanctions from the United States and western allies.

His organisation said Fenster’s release came after that private visit and “face-to-face negotiations” with Min Aung Hlaing.

Fenster was the first western journalist sentenced to prison in recent years in Myanmar, where the coup against the elected government of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has left the country in chaos, with the generals struggling to consolidate power and facing growing international pressure. – Reuters

air pollution

air pollution

Air quality charts state if they stay outside in Delhi for too long they could contract a respiratory illness. The government has been forced to take measures to curb off-the-scale levels of pollution - including banning some cars, halting constru...

New COVID variant: UK taking 'safety first' approach following Africa travel ban.

New COVID variant: UK taking 'safety first' approach following Africa travel ban.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told Sky News the UK Government is taking "a safety first approach" in banning entry from six African countries in the face of a new COVID variant. Flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatin...

Sky News Breakfast: New COVID variant, PM writes to Macron over Channel deaths.

Sky News Breakfast: New COVID variant, PM writes to Macron over Channel deaths.

On Sky News Breakfast, we have the latest on the new coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa and Boris Johnson writes to French President Emmanuel Macron after 27 people died trying to cross the Channel. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for...

Legia Warsaw ATTACK police, storm Leicester stands & set off flares at Europa League match.

Legia Warsaw ATTACK police, storm Leicester stands & set off flares at Europa League match.

UGLY scenes broke out in Leicester's Europa League win over Legia Warsaw as away fans attacked police. The Foxes were leading the game 3-1 when the travelling supporters clashed with security and police. Flares had earlier been set off and visitin...

LIVE - French fishermen block Calais port over Brexit fishing rights.

LIVE - French fishermen block Calais port over Brexit fishing rights.

French fishermen block the port of Calais, in protest over London's policy regarding post-Brexit fishing rights. The Sun newspaper brings you the latest breaking news videos and explainers from the UK and around the world Become a Sun Subscriber a...

Black Friday is here!

Black Friday is here!

ABC News’ Em Nguyen reports on how retailers are adapting to this year’s supply chain crisis.