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Myanmar

Junta charges Suu Kyi, US national

Article published on the 2009-05-14 Latest update 2009-05-14 12:58 TU

John Yettaw's photo of himself around the time he swam to Suu Kyi's house, undated(Photo: Reuters)

John Yettaw's photo of himself around the time he swam to Suu Kyi's house, undated
(Photo: Reuters)

Myanmar's military government says it will put pro-democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to trial on 18 May, over an incident in which a US citizen swam secretly to her house, where she is in detention. The American, John Yettaw, was also charged, the junta said.

Authorities took Suu Kyi to Insein prison in Yangon, to hear the charges, her lawyer said. The lawyer also told Reuters news agency that the charges would probably be Section 22 of the Law Safeguarding the State from the Dangers of Subversive Elements, which imposes penalties "if a person put under house arrest under Section 10 (B) of this Law violates the restrictions imposed on them".

If convicted, Suu Kyi faces three- to five-year prison sentence. Her current six-year house arrest is set to expire later this month.

John Yettaw's photo of flippers he claims to have used to swim to Suu Kyi's house, undated(Photo: Reuters)

John Yettaw's photo of flippers he claims to have used to swim to Suu Kyi's house, undated
(Photo: Reuters)

State media reported Yettaw's arrest 6 May, after he had swum across a lake, uninvited, to Suu Kyi's house. He spent a night there. Suu Kyi's lawyer says that she asked Yettaw to leave, but he refused.

Pro-democracy activists say that the charges against Suu Kyi are unwarranted.

"I believe that the real motive of the regime is to take her away from any political event which is going to take place in the country", a leading Myanmar dissident Soe Aung of the Bangkok-based Forum for Democracy told RFI.

Interview: Myanmar dissident Soe Aung, Forum for Democracy

14/05/2009 by Salil Sarkar