John Yettaw Admitted to Prison Hospital

John William Yettaw, the American accused of unlawfully seeking refuge in Aung San Suu Kyi’s home, has been admitted to hospital in Rangoon’s Insein Prison after declining food for 49 days, according to his lawyer, Khin Maung Oo.

The lawyer told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that Yettaw is being fed intravenously. He said the 53-year-old American, a Mormon, had existed for seven weeks on only water for religious reasons.

Khin Maung Oo said Yettaw told him the Bible had instructed him to travel to Rangoon to protect Suu Kyi from assassination. He had had a vision of Suu Kyi’s home, the lawyer said.

Yettaw has been charged with violating Burma’s security and immigration laws after he allegedly swim across Inya Lake and entered Suu Kyi’s house in May. If convicted, he faces a sentence of between six months and five years imprisonment.

Khin Maung Oo said that when Suu Kyi discovered Yettaw outside her home she told him to respect and comply with the rule of law in Burma. “She gave him refuge because he was very weak when she found him,” the lawyer said. Yettaw suffers from diabetes.
Khin Maung Oo said Yettaw had acted without financial or political backing. He was a devout Mormon, guided by his Bible.

Yettaw’s wife Yvonne told the US magazine Newsweek that her husband apparently suffered from untreated bipolar and posttraumatic stress disorders and regarded himself as a man sent by God to protect foreign leaders whom he esteemed. Yettaw saw service in Vietnam and receives disability payments from the US Veterans Affairs office. He has been pursuing studies in psychology.

The Burmese junta claims a Burmese opposition group was behind Yettaw’s action.

Burma’s police chief, Khin Yi, told journalists in Rangoon in June that the background to Yettaw’s intrusion needed more investigation.

Khin Yi said Yettaw had met with exiled and unlawful groups in Mae Sot before his last visit to Burma. The police chief accused him of receiving financial support from the groups.

Yettaw reportedly first visited Suu Kyi’s home unlawfully last November, and his family says he was still in debt for the expenses he incurred during that trip.

Before setting out for his second trip, Yettaw told his wife that he planned to visit Asia for a book he was writing, according to Newsweek magazine.

Burmese and Thai sources in Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border, say he spent more than a month at a hotel in the town after his first visit to Rangoon. During this visit he managed to get in to Suu Kyi’s compound, but her companions prevented him from meeting her.

While he was in Mae Sot, people recalled Yettaw saying that he planned to return to visit Suu Kyi again. His second visit led to the fateful encounter with Suu Kyi in May, sources said.

In Mae Sot, Yettaw stayed at the Highland Hotel, where he spoke to several people about Burma and talked briefly about Suu Kyi. He openly told people about his first visit to her compound.

irrawaddy org

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