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Suu Kyi visitor appears in court

May 14, 2009 at 6:51 PM

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- The American accused of entering Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's house in Myanmar appeared in a Myanmar court Thursday, a U.S. State Department official said.

John Yettaw was arrested last week, accused of entering the residence where opposition leader Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years.

Because Yettaw is a private citizen, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said all he could confirm was that "he had a hearing at the prison special court ... (that) was related to his reported entry into the residence of Aung San Suu Kyi."

Authorities in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, granted a U.S. Embassy consular officer access to the courtroom to observe Thursday's hearing, Kelly said, adding he wasn't sure whether the official met with Yettaw.

Kelly said embassy officials also asked government officials about the charges against Yettaw, but didn't have more information.

"And of course, we have been constantly calling for -- both publicly and privately in diplomatic channels -- the release of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and the other political prisoners," Kelly said. "I understand there's more than 2,100 political prisoners."

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