Yettaw, Webb arrive in Thailand

Aug. 16, 2009 at 7:07 AM
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BANGKOK, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A U.S. resident convicted in Myanmar for visiting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Bangkok Sunday with U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, R-Va., officials said.

John Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Mo., flew to Thailand aboard a military plane after Webb secured his release, CNN reported.

Yettaw last week was sentenced to seven years hard labor after he swam across a lake May 3 to Suu Kyi's home in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize winner, said she didn't report Yettaw's actions because she did want to get anyone in trouble.

Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years in prison for the incident and her sentence was commuted to 1 1/2 years of house arrest.

Webb met Saturday with Suu Kyi and Myanmar junta leader Gen. Than Shwe. Webb, the first U.S. official to meet with Than Shwe, said he requested Suu Kyi be released from her house arrest.

The Washington-based U.S. Campaign for Burma, said Webb shouldn't be proud of securing Yettaw's release while Suu Kyi remains under detention.

"This will surely make a negative impression among the people of Burma," Aung Din, the campaign's director said.

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