US journalist jailed in Myanmar for nearly 6 months is freed--UPDATE

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By GRANT PECK and DAVID RISING

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BANGKOK (AP) -- American journalist Danny Fenster, who spent nearly six months in jail in military-ruled Myanmar and was sentenced last week to 11 years of hard labor, was freed Monday and began his journey home.

Fenster was handed over to former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson, who helped negotiate the release, and the two landed in Doha, Qatar.

"I'm feeling all right physically," a bearded Fenster, in baggy drawstring pants and a knit hat, told journalists on the tarmac. "It's just the same privations and things that come with any form of incarceration. You just go a little stir-crazy. The longer it drags on, the more worried you are that it's just never going to end. So that was the biggest concern, just staying sane through that."

While still jailed, Fenster told his lawyer that he believed he had COVID-19, though prison authorities denied that.

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