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Pattaya Daily News

15 August 2009 :: 17:08:56 pm 27300

Thailand Asking Asean Consensus To Seek Suu Kyi Pardon

BANGKOK, Aug 14 - Thailand, as current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is asking for consensus among member countries to seek pardon for Myanmar?s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a court sentenced her to an additional 18 months of house detention, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya.
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The letter has been circulated to all ASEAN member countries to ask for their support for the move, he said, adding that a copy of the letter was also sent to the Myanmar government.

A Myanmar court on Tuesday sentenced the 64-year-old Nobel laureate for being guilty of violating the terms of her earlier detention by sheltering an uninvited American visitor at her home. The American, John Yettaw, was also sentenced to seven years in prison. Lawyers plan to appeal both sentences.

Her sentence of three years’ imprisonment with hard labour was reduced to 18 months of house arrest following an order by the Myanmar’s leader.

Mr Kasit said after Thailand issued statement on behalf of ASEAN, the members had considered Thailand had done it most over the issue and there would be no special ASEAN ministers meeting to discuss the issue. Two or three members are not ready to attend such special meeting.

The minister said he believed the Myanmar government had realised the demand of the international community — to release all political prisoners, hold general elections and foster national reconciliation.

Thailand, as ASEAN chair, on Wednesday issued the regional bloc’s statement saying ASEAN felt ?deep disappointment? that Nobel laureate and democracy campaigner Suu Kyi was sentenced to the added 18 months of house detention.

The statement also said the chair wishes to reiterate the calls made by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers at the 42nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers? Meeting and the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum held in July in Phuket, calling for the immediate release of all those under detention, including Mrs Suu Kyi, with a view to enabling them to participate in the 2010 general elections.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday called on Myanmar to release her and all other political prisoners. The Security Council also expressed “serious concern” for the sentence sending Mrs Suu Kyi back to house arrest. (TNA)
Who is John Yettaw ??

John Yettaw has been described by his wife as “eccentric” and by others as a “crank”, a “holy fool” and an “innocent abroad” – but despite all the trouble he caused it seems he was only trying to help.

The devout Mormon and US army veteran began his journey from obscurity to infamy in a dilapidated trailer in woods outside the tiny hamlet of Falcon, Missouri.

In May he was plucked by two policemen from Inya lake in Rangoon, wearing a pair of home made flippers, using two large plastic bottles for buoyancy and carrying a black bag containing ? among other things ? a torch, folding pliers and two hundred dollar bills. The 54 year old had just spent two days inside one of Burma’s most closely guarded sites ? the lakeside home of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nor was this his first visit. It emerged that in November last year he had reached the house by walking along an open drain, but on that occasion failed to meet his heroine.

What motivated these bizarre journeys? Supporters of Mrs Suu Kyi quickly claimed that Mr Yettaw had been sent by the junta to create a pretext to extend her detention, which was about to expire.

According to the junta, meanwhile, he was either “a secret agent or her boyfriend,” sent by “internal and external anti-government elements” bent on toppling the regime.

Slowly a different picture began to emerge, of a deeply religious man battling private demons.

According to his fourth wife, Betty Yettaw, he was planning to write a book on “forgiveness and resilience” and wanted to interview Mrs Suu Kyi. It appears the project was part of his response to the death of one of his eight children in a motorcycle accident two years ago.

At his trial, which took place alongside Mrs Suu Kyi’s, Mr Yettaw testified that he had a dream warning that she would be assassinated.

He said that he wanted to warn her. Muslim women’s clothes discovered among his belongings suggest he may have planned to involve her in some kind of escape attempt.

Last week he was hospitalised after suffering a series of epileptic seizures. Mr Yettaw is also diabetic and his health may have been further harmed by religious fasts he has undertaken in custody.

Mrs Suu Kyi, who is a Buddhist, has asked her supporters not to ridicule Mr Yettaw’s beliefs. “Aung San Suu Kyi said she bore no grudge against Mr. Yettaw or his family,” says her lawyer Nyan Win.

His daughter, Carley Yettaw, said: “I would like people to know that he has no ill intention, that he was not trying to cause harm.”

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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