Levin, Michigan Delegation Urge State Department to Aid Michigander Journalist Imprisoned in Burma

May 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), Vice Chair of the Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with all 16 members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation, sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the State Department to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Danny Fenster of Huntington Woods, a journalist working in Burma as the managing editor of independent news site Frontier Myanmar, from his recent imprisonment by the Burmese military (Tatmadaw).

“There is no known cause for Mr. Fenster’s detention, and his news organization has been unable to contact him since the morning of May 24. Mr. Fenster has reportedly been transferred to Insein Prison in Yangon,” the lawmakers write. “According to CNN, this is ‘one of the country's most notorious political prisons, known for its deplorable conditions.’”

“Mr. Fenster is the fourth foreign journalist to be detained in Burma since the February 1 military coup,” the lawmakers continue. “According to the Washington Post, the military junta ‘routinely publishes lists of “wanted” journalists, accusing them of affecting “state stability,” and has detained more than 70 journalists.”

The lawmakers conclude, “On March 19, the House of Representatives condemned the February 1 coup unequivocally, voting overwhelmingly to pass a resolution that included a call for the Burmese military (Tatmadaw) to ‘allow for freedom of expression, including the right to protest, press freedom, and freedom of movement.’ Each of the Michigan Representatives voted in favor of that resolution, authored by Congressman Andy Levin of Michigan’s 9th District, which includes Mr. Fenster’s home of Huntington Woods. We echo that call today. We are grateful that the State Department is engaged on this matter and has been in communication with Mr. Fenster’s family. We ask, respectfully, that you continue to act with urgency to see that Mr. Fenster is released immediately and unconditionally and allowed to travel freely. We stand ready to work with you to ensure his release and wellbeing.”

Read a full copy of the letter here.