The American mystery man behind Aung San Suu Kyi's latest troubles
John Yettaw's unauthorized visit to the home of the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate may land her in jail for another five years. Final arguments for her speedy trial begin Monday.
The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi has boosted even further the prominence of the world’s best-known prisoner of conscience.Skip to next paragraph
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It’s also drawn worldwide attention – or, notoriety – to John Yettaw, the American who entered Burma (Myanmar) illegally, then swam to Ms. Suu Kyi's home late at night with homemade fins on a “mission from God.”
The mission? To warn her about an assassination plot.
Yettaw reportedly swam two kilometers across the lake – no easy task – with homemade fins (see photo here), a backpack full of clothes, books, and a five-liter bottle that may have served as a flotation device.
Other possessions included a “Book of Mormon, a video camera, black Muslim robes, stockings and dark glasses,” according to his testimony, reported Irrawaddy, a Burmese English-language publication based in Thailand.
Suu Kyi’s decision to allow her uninvited, tired guest to stay overnight earlier this month may land her in jail for up to five years, for violating the terms of her current imprisonment. Suu Kyi has lived under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years. Her current six-year term was set to expire Wednesday.
Instead she’s spent the past week at Burma’s infamous Insein Prison, as has Mr. Yettaw. The trial is clipping toward what many expect will be a guilty verdict: It began nine days ago and heard 14 prosecution witnesses.
The defense witness tally? Only one was allowed by the court.
Final arguments are scheduled for Monday.
Who is the man who landed her in trouble?
Yettaw had six children with Yvonne, plus one from her previous marriage, Craig Dehner. They were married for 12 years before divorcing in 2002. One of his sons died in a motorcycle accident in 2007 – a death Yettaw blamed on himself, according to Mr. Dehner.
He worked part-time as a general contractor and received veteran’s disability payment, she said.
Yettaw has said he’s a student at the Forest Institute in Springfield, Mo., a school for advanced degrees in psychology. But officials at the school told the Associated Press that Yettaw neither was currently enrolled nor had a degree from there.
Why did he do it?
According to Yvonne, whom John visited last month before his travels, he said he was going to Asia to write a psychology paper about forgiveness.