John Yettaw charged over Aung San Suu Kyi home invasionMay 15th, 2009 - 3:53 am ICT by John Le Fevre
John Yettaw, the American father of five children who swam across a lake surrounding the home of imprisoned Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, faces a six-year jail term for his actions.
The midnight swim and uninvited stay by Yettaw at the Burmese opposition leaders home has also resulted in fresh charges being laid against Ms Suu Kyi, less then two weeks before her current six-year period of detention is due to end on May 27.
Yettaw, described by authorities in Rangoon as a 53-year-old Vietnam War veteran, has angered supporters of Ms Suu Kyi by his stunt, with her main lawyer Kyi Win describing him as, “a fool”.
Along with Ms Suu Kyi, two maids who cared for the ailing 63-year-old in the home where she has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest since her National League for Democracy party’s landslide victory in the country’s last elections in 1990, have also been charged under the Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements.
Ms Suu Kyi was taken to Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison Thursday afternoon and formally charged and refused permission to return home. Her lawyers said she was being held at a special house in the grounds of the prison while proceedings were under way.
For his part, Yettaw was charged on Thursday with illegally entering a restricted zone, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, and with breaking immigration laws, which is punishable by up to one year in jail.
In Washington, which has imposed strict sanctions on Burma, the US State Department said a US diplomat had been allowed to see John Yettaw on Wednesday, while U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Mei said Yettaw had no legal representation at his arraignment but that the embassy was trying to find him an English-speaking lawyer.
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