Friday, May 8, 2009

Myanmar ignores US request to see detained citizenအက်ဥ္းက်ခံေနရေသာ အေမရိကန္ႏိုင္ငံသားအားေတြ ခြင့္ျပဳရန္ေတာင္းဆိုမွဳအေပၚ ေခြးအစိုးရျငင္းဆန္

42 mins ago

YANGON, Myanmar – The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said Friday the government has ignored its repeated requests for access to a detained American arrested for allegedly swimming to the lakeside home of detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and sneaking inside.

The man's motives remained unclear, and the embassy said it has not been able to confirm any information since his Wednesday arrest was reported by state-controlled media, which identified him as "John Willian Yeattaw."

"We have made repeated requests to see him and we still have not been granted access," said embassy spokesman Richard Mei. "We would like to confirm the information ourselves and speak to the individual directly."

Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, is rarely allowed visitors by Myanmar's ruling junta.

Asian diplomats in Myanmar quietly expressed concern that Suu Kyi could face stricter penalties if authorities found that she allowed the man to stay. They spoke on condition of anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Her home is tightly guarded and she is not allowed visitors, aside from her doctor. On infrequent occasions she is allowed out under tight guard to meet with fellow party leaders and visiting U.N. representatives.

In addition, one of many strict rules the junta imposes on all citizens is that they must notify local officials about any overnight visitor who is not a family member. The law also states that foreigners are not allowed to spend the night at a local's home.

Some members of Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, have been jailed for about two weeks for violating that law.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for the party, noted that newspaper reports about the American's arrest said he had entered Suu Kyi's home but did not say he had met her. It remained unclear if the man was able to contact Suu Kyi.

"I'm not really concerned she could be penalized for this break-in because she didn't invite him in," Nyan Win said, adding that it was worrisome how easily the man accessed Suu Kyi's tightly guarded home. "My main concern is her security."

The state-run Myanma Ahlin newspaper reported Thursday that the man had confessed to swimming across Yangon's Inya Lake to Suu Kyi's home on Sunday night and then "secretly entered the house and stayed there." It said he left Tuesday and was arrested when "security personnel found a suspicious-looking foreigner swimming" early Wednesday morning.

It would be the first known instance that anyone has sneaked into Suu Kyi's compound or swam across the lake in an attempt to get there.

Suu Kyi has been held without trial for leading an internationally hailed movement for democracy in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military with an iron fist since 1962. Her party won Myanmar's last elections in 1990 — a result the junta never recognized

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