Journalist Danny Fenster Says Detroit Has Shown Him a Lot of Love Since He Returned Home

Danny Fenster, an American journalist who was recently freed after nearly six months in a Myanmar jail, said he felt a lot of love and appreciation upon returning to his home in Detroit.

Fenster, the 37-year-old managing editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was arrested on May 24 at Yangon International Airport. He was arrested on charges including spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations and violating visa regulations.

Just a week before his release, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison with hard labor. According to the Associated Press, Fenster was just one of more than 100 media personnel that have been detained in Myanmar since its military coup in February.

After former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson helped negotiate his release, Fenster was handed over on November 15. He returned to the U.S. the following day.

Originally from the Detroit suburb of Huntington Woods, Fenster joined the annual event "Menorah in the D" in downtown Detroit this year to help light one of the eight Hanukkah candles, marking the start of the holiday.

Fenster told the Detroit News he has felt joyful since coming home and that as he was flying home, he was shocked at how big his case had gotten. He also mentioned that while he was still in contact with the Frontier Myanmar team, he is unsure what his next move will be.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Danny Fenster, Myanmar
American journalist Danny Fenster, who was recently sentenced to 11 years of hard labor after spending nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar, was freed with the assistance of former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson. Here, Fenster speaks at a news conference at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on November 16 after arriving in the United States following a six month detention in Myanmar. Craig Ruttle/AP Photo

"It wasn't a theme I thought about before the timing of my release and the timing of this event, but I think there's that obvious connection with bringing light to darkness in journalism," Fenster, who is Jewish, told the Detroit Free Press. "The things that I was arrested for, being part of the news organization that's trying to shed light on a very dark regime, seems obviously resonant to me."

"I can't imagine a better community to come home to," Fenster said during a reception prior to Sunday's menorah lighting. "And it's just made an already great, joyful situation even more joyful. Just had a lot of love and appreciation back home here in Detroit and metro Detroit, in the Jewish community and the wider community. It's just been incredible."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan attended the ceremony saying none of the previous events have been as special as this year with the safe return of Fenster.

"This truly is a Happy Hanukkah in Detroit. God bless you," Duggan said before the lighting.

Danny Fenster, JFK Airport
Journalist Danny Fenster said he feels loved by his Detroit community after returning home from almost six months of imprisonment in Myanmar. Here, Fenster is reunited with his family at JFK airport on November 16. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images