Negotiating an American Journalist’s Freedom From Myanmar, Part 1
Welcome back to The Negotiators, the podcast that brings you stories from mediators, troubleshooters, and negotiators around the world. The show is a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy, hosted by FP Deputy Editor Jenn Williams.
We begin our second season with a dramatic prisoner negotiation. Danny Fenster is an American journalist who covered the coup in Myanmar in 2021. Months later, while trying to leave the country for a visit with his family in the United States, he was arrested at the airport in Yangon and eventually charged with sedition. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
In this two-part story, we hear from Mickey Bergman, who helped negotiate Fenster’s release. Bergman is the vice president and executive director of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a charitable organization that helps Americans who are wrongfully imprisoned around the world. On the show, he describes the grueling process of making the right connections in Myanmar and negotiating the deal—at times over the objections of the U.S. State Department.
This isn't Bergman's first time on the show. On episode 4 of season 1, he described negotiating a complicated prisoner exchange with Iran.