Bryan and Danny Fenster
Bryan and Danny Fenster, September 2019, at a friend's wedding in Krakow, Poland. It was the last time the brothers saw each other.

Another hearing set for July 15.

For the first time in 38 days since Frontier Myanmar managing editor and Metro Detroit native Danny Fenster was taken prisoner at Insein Prison in Myanmar, he was granted a phone call on June 30 with his wife, Juliana, who took it from the U.S. Embassy with his brother Bryan Fenster patched in from another phone.

“It was mostly us checking in,” said Bryan in a phone interview with the JN. “We established he was OK, and we told him the whole world is watching and we are doing all we can as a family to get him out. He sounded good, and he said he was healthy. I was even able to crack a joke with him and hear him laugh. We know he will be home soon, but not soon enough.”

Danny had his second court hearing on July 1 in Yangon and was sent back to prison for another two weeks before his next July 15 hearing.

On July 1, Danny’s employer Frontier Myanmar reported that a police complaint letter filed with the court confirms that the authorities arrested Frontier Myanmar managing editor Danny Fenster because they believed he was working at Myanmar Now, despite him having resigned from that media outlet in July 2020.

“Frontier believes Danny has done nothing wrong, and we reiterate our call for his immediate and unconditional release. The documents in Danny’s case file just further underscore why he should be freed immediately.”

Though Bryan said that the phone call and news of his second hearing with the presence of a counselor from the U.S. Embassy are encouraging, he and his family will not rest until Danny is back on U.S. soil.

Though Bryan said he and his family were encouraged that Insein released 700 prisoners on June 30, though Danny was not included in this release.

Bryan stayed up late into the night of June 30 to hear the outcome of the July 1 hearing, which took place 10 a.m.

“There is still no charge even after his second hearing,” said Bryan. “He has complied with Myanmar laws, policies and codes of the country, and he has respected the culture there the whole time. It would have been the perfect opportunity to deport him, but there is still no indication that’s going to happen; there is still no timeframe.”

“We are so thankful to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Myanmar for their continued effort to secure access to Danny, and these are small successes,” said Bryan.

“We are not done. Not even close. Success is not a phone call. Success is Danny Fenster, here, home in the United States. We will continue to work with and push our government.”

Related: 

‘Free Danny’ T-Shirts: Jailed Journalist’s Supporters Fight For His Release

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Stacy Gittleman is an award-winning journalist and has been a contributing writer for the Detroit Jewish News for the last five years. Prior to moving to Metro Detroit in 2013, she was a columnist and feature writer for Gannett's Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, NY. She also manages social media pages for other local non-profit organizations including the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit. Contact her with breaking news and feature story ideas that impact Detroit's Jewish community at stacy.gittleman@yahoo.com