Webb negotiates, releases imprisoned American in Burma
On Saturday, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb won the release of an American prison inmate in Myanmar after talking with reclusive leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
After swimming across a lake to Suu Kyi’s villa in May, Missouri resident John Yettaw, 53, was arrested in May. Yettaw was sentenced to seven years in prison, including four years of hard labor.
Webb visited Yangon after a military court ruled that Suu Kyi was guilty of violating the terms of her house arrest by housing the uninvited American. Yettaw returned to the United States on a military plane.
Webb is a Vietnam veteran and former secretary of the Navy; he currently chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asian and Pacific affairs subcommittee. While some view Webb as leading negotiations and political reforms with Burmese military junta, others are skeptic as to the hidden cost of Yettaw’s freedom.