Webb Secures Release of American in Myanmar

Posted August 15, 2009 at 10:44am

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has secured the release of American John Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years of hard labor earlier this week in Myanmar after he visited the country’s pro-democracy leader.Webb, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs, arrived in Myanmar on Friday and is the first Member of Congress to visit the country in more than a decade. Webb secured Yettaw’s release after an apparent meeting with Senior General Than Shwe, head of the country’s military junta government. It was the reclusive leader’s first meeting with a senior U.S. official.”I am grateful to the Myanmar [Burmese] government for honoring these requests,” Webb said in a statement that appeared in a report in the Guardian. “It is my hope that we can take advantage of these gestures as a way to begin laying a foundation of goodwill and confidence-building in the future.”Yettaw received his sentence for swimming across a lake to visit Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader who was sentenced to 18 more months of house arrest because of the visit. Webb also met with Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, during his visit.