Danny Fenster

The military junta in Myanmar did not specify what Danny Fenster is accused of doing and he was sent back to his prison cell only to await his next hearing on Oct. 4.

On Sept. 20, on the 120th day of his captivity in Insein Prison in Myanmar, journalist and Huntington Woods native Danny Fenster was summoned for his eighth court hearing over video conferencing.

According to reports from the Associated Press, Fenster has been charged with incitement — spreading inflammatory information — an offense for which he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison. 

Yet again, the military junta in Myanmar did not specify what he is accused of doing and he was sent back to his prison cell only to await his next hearing on Oct. 4. 

Fenster’s brother Bryan said the news was disheartening to him and his parents, Buddy and Rose Fenster, as well as Danny’s wife, Juliana, still in Myanmar.

Bryan said he last spoke to Danny on Sept. 12 on a call patched through from the prison to the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon. He was relieved to hear Danny’s probable COVID symptoms, which he last complained of during an Aug. 1 phone call, seemed to resolve themselves, though there is no COVID testing in Insein.

“He seems to be making the best of it,” Bryan told the JN. “What’s most frustrating for us is there is nothing new to report. We are just spinning our wheels at this point. [Waiting for the outcome of each of these hearings that have no results] is just a vicious cycle.” 

Fenster’s family and their community of friends continue their campaign to keep his imprisonment in the headlines and in the minds of neighbors and those in Metro Detroit. Signs bearing the logo “Free Fenster/Protect the Press” accompanied by a portrait of Danny are cropping up around the area. Shortly after his imprisonment, family and friends formed a #BringDannyHome social media campaign and a Facebook group that now has more than 5,500 members.

Fenster is the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar. On May 24, 2021, he was detained by the military in Myanmar moments before he was to fly from Yangon to Detroit to see his family for the first time in over three years. 

Since then, he has been held at Insein Prison under investigation under a law criminalizing dissent that carries a maximum three-year jail sentence. 

Danny is being represented by an attorney from Frontier Myanmar, and the family is in touch with the counselor through a translator, though communication and information has been very limited, according to Bryan Fenster. 

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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