By SAW YAN NAING
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her two female caretakers were arrested at her lakeside home in Rangoon on Thursday and taken to Insein Prison, following an American citizen’s overnight intrusion into her home.
Suu Kyi, 63, and four others involved in the incident are expected to be tried for violating Burma’s security laws.
Police and members of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association provided increased security around the prison after crowds of Burmese citizens gathered.
Dr. Tin Myo Win, Suu Kyi’s family physician, also will be charged in connection with John William Yettaw, 53, staying in Suu Kyi’s compound overnight after swimming across Inya Lake.
Opposition sources said Suu Kyi will appear in court on Monday. In Burma, it is against the law for a foreigner to stay in the home of a Burmese citizen overnight without approval from authorities.
Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Missouri, will also be charged, presumably for violating one of Burma internal security laws. No motive has been given for Yettaw’s intrusion into the compound.
Yettaw swam across Inya Lake on the night of May 3 and left the compound early on the night of May 5, swimming a distance of about 2 kilometers. Authorities arrested him later that morning.
NLD sources said Suu Kyi spoke with the American while he was in the compound. Her caretakers gave him food, and Suu Kyi told him to leave the premises, said NLD sources.
Security authorities said Yettaw told them he had made a similar visit to Suu Kyi’s compound from Nov 7 to Dec 3, 2008.
According to opposition sources, at a later date, when Suu Kyi received a medical check-up from her family doctor, Tin Myo Win, she asked the physician to report Yettaw’s entry into the compound to the authorities. The doctor made a report to the Police Special Branch, but no action was taken.
Nyan Win, a spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD) told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that the Nobel Prize laureate and her two caretakers, Khin Khin Win and Win Pa Pa, were escorted by authorities from the lakeside compound early Thursday morning.
According to Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Kyi Win, Police Col Win Myint Htun said Suu Kyi will face charges in an Insein Prison special court set up to handle political dissidents. Late Thursday, it was not known if Suu Kyi was returned to her home or remained in Insein Prison.
According to her lawyer, Suu Kyi is charged under Section 22 of the State Protection Act, which says that “any person against whom action is taken, who opposes, resists, or disobeys any order passed under this Law shall be liable to imprisonment for a period of from three years up to five years, or to a fine of up to 5,000 kyat, or both.”
On Thursday, lawyers representing Suu Kyi, including Kyi Win, Hla Myo Myint and Nyan Win, attempted to meet with Suu Kyi in Insein prison. Last week, Suu Kyi had difficulty eating and was suffering from low blood pressure and dehydration.
According to sources, cars from the US embassy entered the prison on Thursday morning.
A US diplomat was allowed to talk with Yettaw on Wednesday. Burma's state-owned newspapers published a still photograph of the swimmer.
The Rangoon rumor mill greeted the story of Yettaw’s intrusion into Suu Kyi’s compound with a high degree of skepticism, questioning his motives and the background to the incident.
Many speculated that the incident was created or being manipulated to discredit Suu Kyi and offer the military government an opportunity to extend her house arrest, which is set to expire on May 27.
In past weeks, there was a slim ray of hope that Suu Kyi might be released from house arrest, but that now seems to be an impossibility.