CNN: Myanmar democracy leader Suu Kyi facing trial / more news and video
Myanmar democracy leader Suu Kyi facing trial
(CNN) — Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will stand trial Monday for an incident in which an American allegedly swam across a lake and stayed for two days in her closely guarded residence, where she is under house arrest.
The southeast Asian country’s military junta rarely allows visitors to see Suu Kyi and foreigners are not allowed overnight stays in local households.
The government said the presence of the American, John William Yettaw, in the lakeside home violated the conditions of Suu Kyi’s house arrest.
She was taken to a prison compound near Yangon on Thursday, where authorities set up a special room for her until the trial, said Nyan Win, spokesman for her National League for Democracy party.
The government detained her at the Insean Prison compound under Section 22 of the country’s legal code — a law against subversion of government, Nyan Win said.
If convicted, Suu Kyi could face three to five years in prison.
The timing of her detention raised suspicion among Suu Kyi’s supporters, who said the government’s action Thursday is an excuse to extend her house arrest — set to expire later this month.
“This is the cunning plan of the regime to put Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in continuous detention beyond the six years allowed by the law they used to justify the detention of her,” said the U.S. Campaign for Burma, a pro-democracy group fighting for her release. “Daw” is an honorific.
The country was known as Burma before the military government changed it to Myanmar. Those who oppose the junta still use the old name.
Suu Kyi’s lawyer, U Kyi Win, blamed the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s prison detention on Yettaw.
Some initial reports out of Myanmar spelled his name differently — as Yeattaw.
Local media said the 53-year-old former military serviceman from Falcon, Missouri, swam almost two miles across Inya Lake on May 3 and sneaked into Suu Kyi’s home. Police maintain a round-the-clock presence outside the house. And swimming in the lake is forbidden.
A neighbor of Yettaw’s in Falcon, Mike Assell, described him as someone who was friendly but did not actively participate in community activities.
“I think he wasn’t really afraid to talk to folks, but he really was not outgoing and went out of his way to stop and talk too much,” Assell said. “He has his own — I don’t know if agenda’s the right word — he has his priorities and he is working toward those.”
Public records yielded little about Yettaw, a father of seven. At one point, he owned a construction company. And he lost a 17-year-old son to a motorcycle wreck in Lebanon, Missouri, in 2007.
A U.S. Embassy official met with Yettaw on Wednesday for three minutes, the first since his arrest. He appeared to be doing well, the embassy said.
On Thursday, Myanmar officials were expected to charge Yettaw with immigration violations. But the charges had not been officially announced.
Yettaw entered Suu Kyi’s house once before in 2008, the U.S. Campaign for Burma said. She refused to meet with him, and this time, she spoke to him only long enough to tell him to leave, it said.
Reports from news outlets affiliated with the military junta said Yettaw confessed to the 2008 visit and said he had stayed for a longer period then.
This time, the reports said, Yettaw met Suu Kyi’s two housekeepers — a mother and daughter who are her only permitted companions.
Yettaw, a diabetic, apparently told the women he was tired and hungry after his swim. They offered him food, the newspapers said.
The housekeepers also were charged under Section 22 on Thursday.
The reports did not mention whether Yettaw had encountered Suu Kyi.
He was arrested while swimming away from the house. Authorities said he told officials he was visiting Yangon on a tourist visa and was staying at a hotel when he swam across the lake with a 5-liter water bottle, presumably to use as a float.
Authorities found a U.S. passport, a backpack, a flashlight, a pair of folding pliers, a camera and money on him, local reports said.
The Myanmar-language Web site tharkinwe.com published two photos that officials said they found on Yettaw’s digital camera.
One showed a middle-aged man posing in front of a mirror for a self-portrait. The other was a picture of a pair of feet with flippers on them.
Assell, the neighbor in Missouri, said the man in the picture was Yettaw.
Suu Kyi’s party said Yettaw’s appearance at the house confirms security concerns the leader has voiced to the government.
“This is a political issue, not a criminal issue,” said Nyan Win, the spokesman. “She has done nothing wrong.”
Suu Kyi, 63, rose to global prominence during protests in the country in 1988.
She was first detained in 1989, and has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.
In 1990, her party won the general elections, which the ruling military junta did not recognize. The following year, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Myanmar’s government has scheduled elections for next year that it says will lead the nation toward democracy. Human-rights organizations have said the vote will merely extend military rule in the nation.
CNN’s Katherine Wojtechi, Kocha Olarn, Saeed Ahmed and Geraldine McBride contributed to this report.
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to face trial for breaching the conditions of her detention under house arrest, her lawyer has said.
Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi jailed, to be charged
france24english 2009年05月14日IN THE FIELD: Burma’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with violating the terms of her house arrest after an American man swam across a lake to gain access to her compound, her lawyer said. Her trial has been set for May 18.
Al Jazeera –
Al Jazeera –