The American man jailed in Myanmar for swimming to the house of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, is on his way back home. John Yettaw was sentenced to seven years in prison with hard labour. His release follows the intervention of US Senator Jim Webb, the first and most senior US official to hold talks with the country’s military leader, Than Shwe.
Senator Webb also met with Suu Kyi, who has spent the most of the last 18 years under house arrest. She was sentenced last week to another 18 months under house arrest, enough to keep her out of campaigning for elections due next year. Some critics say this was the junta’s intention, and that Yettaw’s escapade provided the excuse for the new trial. The US and EU condemned her conviction, describing her detention as a violation of the universal principles of human rights and repeated calls for her immediate release.