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Sen. Webb Wins Pledge for American’s Release in Myanmar

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Posted on Aug 15, 2009

Sen. Webb, pictured, also met with Aung San Suu Kyi during his diplomacy blitz in Myanmar.

Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia negotiated his way into a meeting Saturday with Senior Gen. Than Shwe in Myanmar in which he secured a promise that detained American John Yettaw would be released and allowed to join him on a Bangkok-bound plane Sunday.  —KA

Update: Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years, has been deported. The American claimed to be on a mission from God. Sen. Webb said he was in poor health. [Link]

The New York Times:

The senator’s office said he had secured the release of the American, John Yettaw, who was sentenced to prison on Tuesday after intruding at the home of the pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

In another gesture by the government, Mr. Webb, a Democrat, was allowed to meet with Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced at the same trial to 18 months of added house arrest, arousing international condemnation. She has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest.

Most visiting foreign officials are denied permission to meet her, most recently United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in July.

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By altara, August 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are pleased and thankful that Senator Jim Webb has been able to secure the freedom of John Yettaw, who had been sentenced to prison for swimming to the home of pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. The Senator, and the Obama administration and its State Department, are to be congratulated.

One somewhat disturbing thought. North Korea, which has a nuclear weapon, was able to secure the visit of a former president, Bill Clinton, to accept the release of imprisoned Americans. Burma, which has no such weapon, got only a Senator.

Would Iran, maybe on its way to nuclear capability, settle for a former vice president in order to release the captured hikers?


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By Shoto, August 16, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hows about we stop placating the bastards who run the government of Burma and stop calling the country “Myanmar?”  It’s Burma, not Myanmar.  If such usage is good enough for the BBC, it should be good enough for Truthdig.

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