John William Yettaw (born 1955) is a U.S. citizen known for his 2008 and 2009 illegal visits to Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. The 2009 visit prompted Suu Kyi's arrest on May 13, 2009, two weeks before her scheduled release from house arrest on May 27. Yettaw himself was arrested by Myanmar authorities on May 6. He was charged on May 14 with illegally entering a restricted zone, illegal swimming and breaking immigration laws. It is illegal in Myanmar to have a guest stay overnight at one's home without notifying the authorities first.
Their trial began May 18, 2009. On August 11, Yettaw was sentenced on three counts totaling seven years, including four hard labor. Suu Kyi was sentenced to eighteen months of house arrest. On August 14, U.S. Senator Jim Webb arrived in Myanmar and successfully negotiated Yettaw's release and August 16 deportation.
Myanmar authorities claimed that Yettaw's visits were part of a conspiracy that intended to embarrass the Myanmar government. International organizations and nations sympathetic to her cause said the charges against Suu Kyi were a ruse to extend her detention beyond the 2010 scheduled elections.